Juris Doctor Degree Program
Pursuant to California State Bar Accredited Law School Rules and Guidelines, students must complete not less than 80% of academic engagement in regularly scheduled class hours in an in-person class or not less than 80% of verifiable academic engagement required in each distance-learning course in which the student is enrolled. Students dropped from courses due to insufficient hours of verifiable academic engagement will receive an “Unauthorized Withdrawal” on their transcript and are required to repeat the entire course to receive credit.
In an in-person class, failure to meet the verifiable academic engagement standard can take place through the cumulation of tardiness; and early departure as well as being absent from an entire class.
● Absence: Under the statutory provisions and rules of the State Bar of California, absence from classes is never excused; a student is either "present" or "absent." A student who is not present for a significant period of time during an in-person class session shall be deemed “absent” for that period of time. The class instructor may round the time absent to the nearest one-half of an academic hour. An academic hour is fifty minutes, and a half-hour is twenty-five minutes. Thus, a student who misses 13 minutes of an in-person class, whether by reason of tardiness and/or early departure from class, may be marked as absent for one-half of an academic hour. A student who misses fewer than 13 minutes of an in-person class on two occasions may be marked as absent for one-half of an academic hour, notwithstanding the total number of minutes missed.
● Class Sign-In Sheets: Verifiable academic engagement in an in-person class can be recorded in several ways, including through an instructor's coded entries on a seating chart or roll sheet or by each student personally signing a sign-in sheet for that day's class. Where a sign-in sheet is used, failure to sign the sheet may result in the student being marked absent; school records will not be changed to accommodate a student who attended a class but neglected to sign in. By signing attendance sheets, students certify that they are present and did not affix the “signature” of any other students enrolled in that class and that the student complied with the attendance rules. Any action inconsistent with such false certification may subject the student who signed as well as the student for whom the certification was signed to the disciplinary action according to the Honor Code.
Verifiable academic engagement for distance learning courses is calculated differently from in-person courses. Completion of assignments using distance learning technology is reflective of verifiable academic engagement for distance learning courses. Under the State Bar of California's accreditation rules and guidelines, students must complete not less than 80% of verifiable academic engagement required in each course in which the student is enrolled.
For distance-learning courses at Trinity, this means the completion of not less than 80% of the minimum number of hours of other types of verifiable academic engagement required in each course, which includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:
(a) participating in a synchronous class session;
(b) viewing and listening to recorded classes or lectures;
(c) participating in a live or recorded webinar offered by the law school;
(d) participating in any synchronous or asynchronous academic assignment in any class monitored by a faculty member;
(e) taking an examination, quiz, or timed writing assignment;
(f) completing an interactive tutorial or computer-assisted instruction;
(g) conducting legal research assigned as part of the curriculum in any class; and
(h) participating in any portion of an approved clinical or experiential class or activity offered through distance learning technology totaling no more than 12.5 percent of the hours required for graduation; and/or
Verifiable academic engagement for distance-learning at the Law School is referred to as “Participation Credit”. Distance-learning students do not receive participation credit for activities that would generally be considered to be “homework” for an in-person class, such as the reading of texts and briefing cases.
● Live Sessions: If a student is tardy for a Live Session, then the student’s Participation Credit may be proportionally reduced. Students shall join the Live Session with a live video feed (by camera) and live audio (microphone) from their devices. Students should join the Live Session from a location free of visible or audible distractions, including, but not limited to other people, pets, food, and ambient noise. The instructor will mute any students’ audio and/or video which distracts from the virtual classroom experience. To receive Participation Credit for the Live Sessions, students shall remain visible and audible during the entire class session. Any student who does not remain visible and audible for any period of time during the class session will be counted as “absent” for the duration of the time the student is not visible/accessible by video and/or microphone.
● Late Work: On rare occasions, with the permission of the professor, and/or the Dean's office, students may arrange to earn Participation Credit even if the course’s late work penalties provide that no assignment credit will be given for an assignment. If a student does not obtain sufficient Participation Credit in order to complete the course, the student will receive an “Unauthorized Withdrawal” on the student’s transcript and is required to repeat the entire course to receive credit.
● Assignments: When the professor reviews an assignment, the professor will determine the extent to which the student has engaged in, or completed, the assignment. If the professor determines that a student’s work product does not reflect the estimated time to complete the assignment (including that a student does not meet the minimum posting requirement for the discussion board assignments), the professor will notify the student of this discrepancy and adjust the amount of Participation Credit the student will receive for the assignment.
● Plagiarism: In addition, the professor will audit student’s assignments to determine participation, substance, and any violations of the Standards of Conduct contained in the Catalog. Any such violations (e.g., plagiarism, sharing explanations with other students who have not completed the assignment, or other attempts at working around the system) may be reported by the professor to the Disciplinary Committee for appropriate action.
Bar Examination Eligibility
Students must be in residence for a total of 1,200 hours in order to earn their Juris Doctor degree. If excessive absences cause a student to fall short of this requirement, the student will not be eligible to sit for the California Bar Examination.
Violation of the Law School Attendance Policy
The law school’s attendance policy is that of the State Bar of California. Pursuant to California State Bar Accredited Law School Rules and Guidelines, students must complete not less than 80% of academic engagement in regularly scheduled class hours in an in-person class or not less than 80% of verifiable academic engagement required in each distance-learning course in which the student is enrolled. If students do not meet the attendance requirements, they will be notified that they have been automatically withdrawn from that course. To receive credit for the course, the student must retake the course when it is next offered. Students who are absent for more than 20% of a course and are automatically withdrawn cannot be reinstated. It is the student's responsibility record the student's own attendance correctly.
For in-person courses, each student must be prepared at each class meeting to brief assigned cases and to participate meaningfully in class discussions. For distance-learning courses, each student must be prepared at each Live Session to brief assigned cases, discuss the assigned video lectures, and participate meaningfully in class discussions.
The professor has the authority to impose sanctions against any student who exhibits a pattern of unpreparedness in accordance with the policies set forth in the course syllabus. Students should be advised that repeated unpreparedness is a violation of the Honor Code. Students who are repeatedly unprepared may be referred to the Dean for disciplinary action which may include suspension or expulsion.
Master of Legal Studies Degree Program
Attendance in this program is defined as participating in qualified academic events, as defined below. On rare occasions, a student may arrange to make up qualified academic events with the permission of the instructor. Students will be administratively withdrawn after two weeks if they have not self-enrolled and participated in at least one assignment, Live Session, or discussion within that two-week period. If a student is dropped from a required course due to inadequate attendance, the student will be required to repeat the course to meet graduation requirements. Students are required to actively participate as each course may require.
Qualified Academic Events
A qualified academic event is defined as:
- Submission of an academic assignment
- Examination, interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction
- Study group assigned by the school
- Participation in online discussion about academic affairs
- Initiation of contact with the instructor to ask a question about an academic subject
Each student must be prepared to participate meaningfully in class discussions.
The instructor has the authority to impose sanctions against any student who exhibits a pattern of unpreparedness in accordance with the policies set forth in the course syllabus. Students should be advised that repeated unpreparedness is a violation of the Honor Code. Students who are repeatedly unprepared may be referred to the Dean for disciplinary action which may include suspension or expulsion.