Exam Taking Regulations

  • Students may not bring their own scratch paper into examination rooms. Bluebooks and scratch paper will be furnished by the proctor;
  • Use of a telephone, pager or other electronic device, other than an authorized computer, during examinations is prohibited.  Any incoming call during an examination that is of a vital emergency nature will be relayed promptly to the student concerned;
  • Students who are taking examinations may not use the library at any time during the examination period unless so instructed by the professor;
  • Students who fail to turn in answers to all of the questions on an examination because they fail to realize that the examination contains more questions, or for any other reason, will be graded on the basis of the normal weight of the questions answered.  No make-up opportunities will be allowed for the questions omitted.  Unanswered questions will receive no credit;
  • Students arriving late to begin an examination will not be given extra time to complete the examination;
  • Students who take their bluebooks home, who fail or forget to turn them in at the time of the examination, will not be permitted to turn them in for a grade later;
  • Students are not permitted to write personal notes or comments on examination papers that may be construed as an attempt to influence the grading of the examination;
  • Students engaging in any other activity that indicate reliance on sources outside the examination room during testing times violates the cheating prohibition.
  • Students with computer problems during the examination will not be provided with technical assistance.They may attempt to correct the problem or must immediately raise their hand to receive a bluebook from the proctor to continue with the exam by handwriting.No extra time will be allotted. The exam must be handwritten to receive a score and the exam cannot be retaken or have the exam not count against the student’s grade due to computer problems.

Grading on Examinations and Papers

Examinations and student papers at Trinity Law School are graded using a strict curve rather than on a criteria-basis. When classes are sufficiently small to warrant deviation from the curve, professors may depart from the curve in grading so as to assure that grading is generally consistent with the grades given in other classes.

Standing

The cumulative grade point average to maintain good standing is 2.0.

Ranking

To assist students in assessing their own academic performance, students are notified of their rank among their peers after they have completed 18 units.  All students who will have completed between 18 and 54 units constitute the middle tier of students and will receive a letter at the end of each semester indicating the number of students in that tier and their placement within that tier.  All students who will have completed more than 54 units in a semester constitute the upper tier and will receive a letter at the end of each semester indicating the number of students in that tier and their placement within that tier.

In September of each year, all students who will have graduated within the preceding 12 months will receive a letter indicating their rank among all the students who graduated during that year. The school does not otherwise post or indicate student rank.  Ranking is not indicated on the students’ transcripts.

Contesting Grades

An examination or course grade, once recorded, shall not thereafter be changed except after consultation with the professor of record and with the approval of the Law Faculty Senate. A grade may be changed by the professor with the approval of the Registrar in the instance of a calculation error.

A student who claims that a grade was the product of unfairness or a departure from established grading policy may have such claim reviewed by the Law Faculty Senate.  All requests for a grade change must be made using a student petition form and must be filed within 20 days of the date grades are posted by the Registrar’s Office.  The Law Faculty Senate will review such requests and may seek input from the faculty member who graded the class.

Specific Course Requirements

Specific requirements and weighting for graded components that make up the course grade are set forth in the course syllabus.

Transfer Credit

The maximum age of units that will be considered for transfer credit is 36 months and the maximum number of units that can be transferred is 45 semester units.  A unit of credit is considered to consist of 15 classroom hours.  One classroom hour is defined as 50 minutes of classroom-based instruction.  Transfer credit is normally granted only for courses taken at an ABA-approved or California Accredited Law School.  Transfer credit is evaluated on a case-by- case basis.  Classes are individually considered for transfer and only classes with grades at the prior school’s good standing level may be accepted for transfer credit subject to similarity to Trinity Law School course contents.

Grading for Elective Courses

Elective courses will be graded according to Table B in Appendix 1. Law Review, Moot Court, clinical courses and internships are graded on a credit/no credit basis.

Transcript Notations

Non-letter grades on student transcripts will be reflected as follows:

CR - Credit:  Represents the successful completion of a course offered on a credit/no credit basis. These units apply toward graduation requirements but are not calculated in the grade point average.

NC - No Credit:  Represents the failure to complete successfully a course offered on a credit/no credit basis.  These units are calculated as units attempted but do not apply toward graduation requirements and are not used in the calculation of grade point average.

Transcript notations where no grade is given will be reflected as follows:

AU - Audit:  Indicates registration for a class on an audit basis, which normally indicates regular attendance in class and participation in discussion.  Students who audit courses are not enrolled for credit.  No grade is assigned, and grade points and units are not awarded for courses audited

N - In Progress: Represents course work in progress.

AW - Authorized Withdrawal:  Indicates withdrawal from a course while doing acceptable work. These units do not apply toward graduation requirements and are not calculated in the grade point average.

UW - Unauthorized Withdrawal: Indicates student failure to withdraw from a course in a timely manner, or administrative withdrawal from a course. These units do not apply toward graduation requirements and are not calculated in the student’s GPA.

Repeating Courses

A student on probation or in good standing receiving a grade below C may retake courses to seek a higher grade.  A student will not be permitted to repeat a course in which the student received a grade of C or higher. Both grades will be reflected on the student's transcript, but only the highest grade will be used for purposes of computing the student’s cumulative grade point average.

In all cases of repeating courses, students will be charged the normal rate of tuition.

Academic Advancement, Probation, and Dismissal

If a student's cumulative grade point average after any semester is less than 2.0, the student will be placed on academic probation for the following semester.  This applies to fall, spring, and summer session. Any student failing to earn a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 at the end of the semester during which they are on probation will be academically dismissed. An academic dismissal is noted on the student transcript; probation is not noted on the transcript.

Students will not be allowed to graduate with a cumulative grade point average below 2.0.

In order to ensure that students complete their program not prior to the 32 month requirement set by the State Bar, the maximum number of units a student may complete within the first 12 months of study is 40 units. The maximum number of units a student may complete within the first 24 months of study is 70 units.

Students should also be aware that failing a required course necessitates that the course be repeated. No credit will be earned for the failed course. Students should be advised that failing a course will have implications on registration and may delay anticipated graduation date.

Special Rules for Spring Matriculants

Students who start their legal studies in the spring semester are subject to distinct rules regarding academic advancement, probation, and dismissal. All year-long classes started in the spring semester must be completed during the following summer. A student matriculating in the spring semester who receives a grade point average of less than 2.0 at the end of that semester is placed on academic probation. If students on probation under these circumstances do not raise their grade point average to at least 2.0 by the end of the summer, they will be academically dismissed. A student wishing to repeat a required course must file a petition with the Registrar. Students matriculating in the spring are subject to the 32-month residency requirement set by the California State Bar.  Due to this requirement, any student who matriculates in the spring and wishes to graduate in three years will complete the program during the summer session.

Special Students

Students admitted as special students (students who have not completed the minimum two years of college work but have demonstrated equivalent intellectual achievement by achieving acceptable scores on Committee-specified examinations (CLEP) prior to beginning the study of law) must pass the First-Year Law Student’s Examination to advance to the second year of study.  In accordance with Rule VIII of the Rules Regulating Admission to Practice Law in California, credit is not received until the applicant has passed the examination. Once a special student becomes eligible to sit for the First Year Law Students Examination, they must pass the exam within the first three administrations.  Special students at Trinity Law School are not allowed to accumulate more than 40 units if the exam is not passed.

Requirements for Graduation

The degree of Juris Doctor is conferred upon students who have met the admissions requirements for the degree and who have satisfactorily completed the prescribed program of law study. To graduate with a Juris Doctor degree, students must successfully complete the prescribed program of 90 units of study within 5 years. The 90 units must include all of the required courses.  A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or above is required for the degree.

Candidates for the J.D. degree must complete their studies no earlier than 32 months and no later than 60 months after the student has commenced law study at Trinity Law School, or a school from which the law student has transferred credit. Students will not be permitted to complete more than 40 units within their first 12 months of study. Similarly, students will not be permitted to complete more than 70 units within their first 24 months of study. A student who requires more than 60 months to complete the J.D. degree must file a petition with the Registrar for authorization.

Final responsibility for meeting degree requirements for graduation rests with each student.

Inspection and Photocopying of Examinations

All students are permitted to obtain and keep copies of their essay examinations. If students do not receive copies of their essays within two weeks of the posting of grades the student may request copies from the Registrar.  Multiple-choice questions and answers will not be released to students.

Make-up Examinations

Failure to take an examination at the regularly scheduled date and time without prior approval by the Registrar will result in a failing grade for the course. Students who are unable to inform the Registrar of their absence at an examination because of an emergency should petition the Registrar immediately upon their availability to do so, and may petition for relief from the failing grade. Such a petition may be granted upon sufficient evidence of the inability to contact the Registrar.

Any student seeking to take an examination at a time other than the date and time posted for regular administrations for the exam must contact the Registrar at least two weeks in advance of the exam and pay $500 to cover the cost of preparing a separate examination. A check in that amount must be payable to Trinity Law School.  This charge is not intended to be punitive and applies without regard to the reason for the late examination. All examinations must be taken as soon as possible after the scheduled date but no later than two weeks after the scheduled exam date.

Anonymity

To preserve anonymity in examination grading, students are assigned an examination number.  The examination number is to be used on every examination or paper in lieu of the student's name. Students can locate their examination number by logging in to the student portal. Students must maintain the confidentiality of their assigned numbers.  New confidential examination numbers are issued once per semester, including summer session.  If students believe their number has been compromised, they may request a new number by submitting a signed, written request to the Registrar.

Courses requiring the professor to interact extensively with students' written work, such as Legal Research and Writing and select writing-intensive elective courses, do not require anonymity in grading as it prevents the professor from interacting with students in person to give feedback on written assignments. Refer to the course syllabus to determine if the course is not graded anonymously. 

Exam Taking Options

Students may either handwrite an exam in a bluebook provided at the time of examination or type answers on a laptop computer. Students wishing to take an examination on a laptop computer must be registered on Examsoft prior to the day of the exam. Students must conform to the exam taking protocols given by Examsoft when registering.

State Bar Requirements for Admission to Practice Law

The State Bar of California regulates legal education in California. It is each student's responsibility to comply fully with the Rules Regulating Admission to Practice Law in California.  Students are strongly advised to obtain a copy of the rules from the Office of Admissions of the State Bar of California.

Professional Responsibility Examination

All applicants for admission to practice law in California are required to pass the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. Students must complete one year of law study prior to taking the multi-state professional responsibility exam. Students should consult the California State Bar website for details regarding this examination.

Admission to Practice Law Outside of California

The law school is accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. Law school students are qualified immediately upon graduation to take the bar examination in California.

Study at, or graduation from, this law school may not qualify a student to take the bar examination or be admitted to practice law in jurisdictions other than California. A student who intends to seek admission to practice law outside of California should contact the admitting authority in that jurisdiction for information regarding its education and admission requirements.

Admissions standards for each state are set forth in the American Bar Association’s Comprehensive Guide to Admission to the Practice of Law. This resource may be obtained at ncbex.org.

Records

Trinity Law School retains all documents received in the admissions process for at least two years for students who do not enroll.  For students who do enroll, documents are retained for at least five years beyond the date last attended. Records of students' academic performance while at the law school are retained permanently.

Release of Transcripts

Unofficial transcripts are available online. Official transcripts will not be released if the student is delinquent in financial obligations to the school. Official transcripts may be ordered online at www.tls.edu by clicking on the “Alumni” link.

Emergencies Affecting Coursework

Requests for extensions for completion of course requirements are directed to the Registrar’s Office by filing a Student Petition Form.  Such requests are considered only in cases of serious illness or other unforeseeable emergencies and are authorized on a case-by-case basis.

Law School Student Petition Form

The Student Petition Form has been devised as a convenient medium of communication between the student and administration.  This form is available at the Records Office.  It should be filled out completely and forwarded to the Registrar’s Office.