All students enrolled in the College of Law must file a graduation application by the deadline date set by the university and the Law Registrar’s office. Both the completed application and the graduation application fee must be submitted by the deadline.
A degree will be awarded only to a student who meets the university academic requirements and the standards of performance of the College of Law. Generally, the College of Law sponsors only one commencement ceremony during the academic year - in May following the spring semester; however, if a sufficient number of students will complete the requirements for graduation at the end of the fall semester, the College of Law may decide to sponsor a fall graduation ceremony in December for those students. Students who intend to graduate in the summer (August) may participate in the spring (May) graduation ceremony immediately preceding their intended summer graduation or wait until the immediately succeeding fall or spring graduation ceremony. In the absence of a December graduation ceremony, fall graduates may participate in the spring graduation ceremony (May) of the following year.
Graduation with honors will be granted to candidates for the J.D. and LL.M. degrees achieving high academic work in all courses attempted at the College of Law. The specific award will be based on the following:
- Cum laude for candidates achieving a cumulative grade average of at least 3.40;
- Magna cum laude for candidates achieving a cumulative grade average of at least 3.60; and
- Summa cum laude for candidates achieving a cumulative grade average of at least 3.80.
Pro Bono Service
To encourage and support students who provide pro bono and/or public service, the College of Law has adopted the Pro Bono and Public Service Recognition Program. Recognition of students performing substantial pro bono and/or public service will occur during each graduation ceremony.
How Pro Bono and Public Service Will Be Recognized
Students who complete 50 hours or more of pro bono and/or public service during law school graduate with “pro bono and public service distinction.” There are three levels of recognition:
- Distinction is awarded to students who report between 50 and 99 hours of service;
- High Distinction is awarded to students who report between 100 and 149 hours of service;
- Highest Distinction is awarded to students who report 150 or more hours of service.
What Counts as Pro Bono Service:
Pro bono service consists of law-related service students render in the public interest and for the public good without receiving compensation or earning academic credit. Work qualifying as pro bono includes activities that meet the following general criteria:
- Not for credit or compensation;
- Supervised by a licensed attorney or law faculty member, except:
- Law-related work done for a member of Congress or local government;
- Translation work done for law-related volunteering;
- On behalf of one or more of the following:
- Individuals, groups, or causes that are either under-represented in the legal system or that benefit the public;
- A nonprofit organization, government agency, public interest law firm, or private law firm providing pro bono legal services;
- A charitable, governmental, not-for-profit, or educational organization that works to improve the law, the legal system, or the legal profession, including courts and legislatures;
- Or training for work that meets the above criteria.
What is Public Service:
Public service consists of non-law-related service students render in the public interest and for the public good without receiving compensation or earning academic credit. Work qualifying as public service includes activities that are not law-related, but that is performed without compensation or academic credit and is performed for or on behalf of one or more of the following:
- Organizations with a principal purpose promoting the interests of low-income individuals or communities;
- Individuals, groups, or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties, or public rights;
- Charitable groups or organizations;
- Community groups or organizations; or
- Classes in any K-12 program.
Volunteer work on behalf of a candidate for office or under the auspices of a political party does not qualify for pro bono or public service recognition under this program.
Additional Recognition of Students
Every year, the College of Law hosts an Annual Honors Day to recognize the academic, leadership, and service accomplishments of current students. Additional information is available from the associate dean for students.