PACIFIC WEST COLLEGE OF LAW

2011 West  Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92868
Tel. (714) 634-3738
Fax: (714 634-2283
Website: www.pacificwestcollege.com
Email: [email protected]

JURIS DOCTOR (J.D.) DEGREE ACADEMIC POLICIES

ACADEMIC STANDING , RETENTION AND ADVANCEMENT, PROBATION AND EXCLUSION, WITHDRAWAL AND READMISSION

GRADING STANDARD

A. GRADES


1. Numerical Grades

Numerical grades are assigned on a four-point scale ranging from 0.00 to 4.00 with a grade of 0.66 or below considered failing. The following scale prevails: 4.00(A); 3.67(A-); 3.33(B+); 3.00(B); 2.76(B-); 2.33(C+); 2.00(C); 1.67(C-); 1.33(D+); 0.67(D-) and Below 0.67(F)


Only grades assigned by graders (readers) to individual papers are in percentage form. From that point onward (including recording on transcripts), number grades (i.e., 0.00 to 4.00) are used.


2. Non-Numerical Grades

“PASS/FAIL” or “CREDIT/NO CREDIT” are not allowed at Pacific West College of Law. However, some Non-Numerical grades may be assigned: (F (Automatic Failure); INC (Incomplete); W (Withdraw) and DR (Dropped).

GRADE POINT AVERAGE (GPA)

1. Semester GPA

The semester grade-point average (GPA) is determined by dividing the total “grade points” earned that semester by the number of “units earned” that semester. The total “grade points” earned in a semester is the product of the course units and the student’s course grade, totaled for all courses in which a numerical grade was received that semester.


Example:

1st – Semester Course Units Grade Grade Points


Example:

1st – Semester Course                     Units Earned          Grade                Grade Points

Contracts I                                                  3                     1.00                          3.00

Criminal Law                                               3                     2.00                          6.00

Torts I                                                          3                     1.60                          4.80

                                                                    9                                                    13.80

1st – Semester GPA = 13.80/9 = 1.53


Example:

2nd – Semester Course                      Units Earned           Grade                Grade Points

Contracts II                                                  3                     2.00                          6.00

Torts II                                                          3                     2.00                          6.00

Legal Analysis I                                            3                     2.60                          7.80

                                                                     9                                                    19.20


2nd – Semester GPA = 19.20/9 = 2.13


2. Subsequent Computation of Cumulative GPA

The cumulative GPA is computed in the same manner, except that the grade points and the units earned are totaled for every course which the student has taken at PACIFIC WEST and for which the student has received a numerical grade.


Example:

1st Semester Cumulative Points  = 13.80

2nd Semester Cumulative Points = 19.20

     Total Cumulative Points at

     the end of 2nd Semester         33.00 divided by Cumulative Units at the end of 2nd Semester = Cumulative GPA of 1.83

ANONYMOUS GRADING

Pacific West College of Law uses an anonymous grading system to protect students against favoritism or bias in grading, by assigning random student identification number, in all courses except performance courses where the student will be notified in the individual class syllabus.


The students are required to submit their examination answers only through their assigned student identification number.


Professors must submit the course grades only to Pacific West and not directly to the student.


Students are allowed to obtain copy of their final examination answers. Students have the right to petition for a review of their grade by following the petition procedures. For detailed information about petition policy and procedures click here.

COURSE REPETITION AND AWARDING OF CREDITS

POLICY AND PROCEDURE ON COURSE REPETITION

If a failing grade has been received in a required course, that course must be repeated. If a failing grade has been received in the first semester of a 2-semester course a student may not continue into the second semester of that course until he/she has successfully completed the first-semester course. In such instances, the student should also review with an academic counselor his/her status relative to meeting the C.B.E’s “residence” requirement.


A student who repeats a required course (due to an F) receives the grade earned on the repeat effort only. Grade points, units attempted, and units earned for the prior attempt will not be included in grade-point average (GPA) calculations subsequent to the repeat effort. Nevertheless, such calculations prior to the repeat effort will not be affected. Cumulative units, grade points earned, and grade-point averages will be altered to reflect the repeat effort only at the point at which the course was repeated.


POLICY ON COURSE REPETITION AND AWARDING OF TRANSFER CREDITS 


Pacific West College of Law will not grant duplicate credit for repetition of the same or substantially the same course.


Applicants previously disqualified for academic reasons may be granted admission when there is an affirmative showing by the applicant that he or she possesses the requisite ability for the study of law. Such a showing may be made:

           (A) At any time, if the applicant presents credible evidence that the prior disqualification was not caused by the applicant's lack of capacity for the study of law, but resulted from a traumatic event or serious hardship that prohibited the applicant from performing at her or his normal level; or


          (B) After at least two (2) years have elapsed since the disqualification, if the applicant demonstrates that work, study, or other experience during the interim has resulted in a stronger potential for law study than the applicant exhibited at the time he or she was previously disqualified for academic reasons.


In each case, the dean or admissions officer must sign and place in the applicant's file a statement of the reasons for admitting the applicant.


No credit may be granted unless the requirements of § 6060(h) of the California Business and Professions Code have been met, that is, unless the applicant has passed the First-Year Law Students’ Examination or became exempt while attending an accredited law school. To be exempt from the examination, the student must have successfully completed the first year at the accredited law school and have been advanced to the second year by the same law school.


Credit should ordinarily be granted for whole courses completed not more than twenty-seven (27) months prior to the date the applicant begins study at Pacific West. This time limitation does not apply to students who have passed the First-Year Law Students’ Examination. In some instances, when a student has illness, personal tragedy or military service, the student can petition the dean for an exception to this 27-month rule. If the petition is approve, an explanation to that effect will be placed in the student file.


For students who were disqualified for academic reasons at a prior law school, credit should be granted only for courses in which the student received a grade of 2.00 or better for bar tested courses (Pacific West Curriculum indicates what are bar-tested courses *) and a 1.50 (C-) in all other courses. For students who were in good standing at the prior law school, credit will be granted for all passing grades. For all applicants who have passed the First-Year Law Students’ Examination, credit will be allowed in Torts, Contracts, and Criminal Law or a credit of one year of their first year law study completed.


Pacific West College of Law will not grant credit for a course completed at the prior law school in excess of the number of units that Pacific West would award for a course with the same number of classroom or participatory hours.


Pacific West College of Law does not have an established transfer or articulation agreement with any other law school. 

ACADEMIC RECOGNITION

1. Honors Program

The following academic recognition is given to students, who must complete at least 70 semester units or more from PACIFIC WEST on the basis of their grade-point averages (GPA’s), earned from PACIFIC WEST classes (transfer units from other law schools shall not apply).


a. Dean’s Honor List

Students who graduate with the following cumulative GPA’s are placed on the Dean’s Honor List, the highest form of academic recognition at PACIFIC WEST. Below is the hierarchy of Academic Honors awarded by Pacific West to qualified students.


3.20 to 4.00 Summa Cum Laude

3.00 to 3.19 Magna Cum Laude

2.81 to 2.99 Cum Laude


b. Distinguished Honor Roll

Students who achieve a GPA of 3.20 or higher during a semester or summer session and who have nine or more units attempted (four or more units for summer session for purposes of grade calculations) are placed on the PACIFIC WEST Distinguished Honor Roll for that semester or summer session.


c. Honor Roll

Students who achieve a GPA between 2.76 and 3.19 during a semester or summer session and who have nine or more units attempted (four or more units for summer session) for grade are placed on the PACIFIC WEST Honor Roll for that semester or summer session.


2. Other Awards

In addition to the honors program above, there may be many awards granted each semester and upon graduation in recognition of a student’s special contributions and achievements on both scholastic and extracurricular activities. A Lex Excellence Award will be awarded to students who satisfactorily completed all courses/subjects that deals with the practical application of the law which includes Legal Analysis II, Civil Procedure III, Trial Practice I and Trial Practice II.

GOOD ACADEMIC STANDING AND PROBATION

Grading System

The College uses a 4.00 grading system with .66 or below considered failing. Numerical grades are assigned on a four-point scale ranging from 0.00 to 4.00 with a grade of 0.66 or below considered failing. The following scale prevails: 4.00(A); 3.67(A-); 3.33(B+); 3.00(B); 2.76(B-); 2.33(C+); 2.00(C); 1.67(C-); 1.33(D+); 0.67(D-) and Below 0.67(F)


Good Academic Standing

Any student entering PACIFIC WEST must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better to remain in good academic standing and to graduate. 


Cumulative GPA is computed based on all grades received in all courses/subjects taken at Pacific West. There is no requirement that such student have a grade of 2.00 or better in each course, only that such grade(s) in each course is a passing grade and a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better.


Academic Warning

Academic Warning will be issued when a student’s cumulative grade point average is 2.00 or better, but the semester grade point average is less than 2.00.


Academic Probation

A student will be placed on academic probation whenever his/her cumulative GPA (computation is based on all grades received from all courses) is below 2.00.


Further,a student will be placed on academic probation in any of the following circumstances:


          a.) the student was admitted on probation; or

        b.) the student has advanced beyond the first year of law study, but has incurred a semester GPA below 2.00 in each of three consecutive semesters even though his/her cumulative GPA was 2.00 or better at the end of each such semester (i.e., the third consecutive academic warning results in the student’s “automatic probation”).


To lift up the academic probation and attain a good academic standing, and thus avoid academic dismissal, the student on academic probation MUST have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better for (for academic probation under category a above) or MUST have a 2.00 or better for both semester GPA and cumulative GPA at the end of the probation semester (for academic probation under category b above).


Impact of Summer Session Grades

Summer session grades are not, per se, cause for academic warning, probation or dismissal. However, summer session grades do become part of the student’s cumulative GPA and in that way contribute to the student’s subsequent academic standing, including probation and dismissal at the end of the subsequent semester.

ACADEMIC RETENTION AND DISMISSAL

a. First Semester

1) Permitted to Advance

Any student who achieved a first-semester GPA of 1.00 or better will be permitted to advance into the second semester. Grades in all courses will be used to calculate this semester GPA.


2) Academically Dismissed

Any student who failed to achieve a first-semester GPA of 1.00 or better will be academically dismissed at the end of his/her first semester. Grades in all courses will be used to calculate this semester GPA.


b. Second Semester

1) Permitted to Advance

A student will be permitted to advance into the second year of law study only if his/her cumulative GPA is 2.00 or better.


2) Academically Dismissed

A student will be academically dismissed at the end of his/her second semester if his or her cumulative GPA is below 2.00.


3) Academic Exclusion After Advancing Beyond the First Year of Law Study

A student who has advanced beyond the first year of law study will be academically dismissed at the end of:


   a.) the third consecutive semester in which the student’s semester GPA was below 2.00 and his/her cumulative GPA is 2.00 or better (student under "automatic probation" and failed to lift up probation). 


     b.) the semester to which the student was admitted on probation and in which the cumulative GPA was below 2.00 (or below such higher GPA was made a condition of admission), or


     c.)   the student failed to pass the FYLSE or Baby Bar within three (3) consecutive administrations (CBE allowed attempts).


4) Special Circumstances

In all cases of probation or dismissal, there may be special circumstances involved in consideration of which the appropriate Board or Committee, may exercise its discretion and modify the above requirements. When modification occurs, the requirements of CBE Guideline 5.6 must be observed.


Guideline 5.6 Special Circumstance Exemptions.

A law school may exempt a student from the unit or hourly requirement if a student demonstrates that illness, disability, or other unusual circumstance warrants such special consideration. A law school must limit both the number of first-year students and the number of advanced students so exempted to 10% of each such classification of students enrolled. A law school must, prior to granting any such exemption, obtain the approval of the Educational Standards Department of the Office of Admissions of the State Bar of California. The law school must maintain accurate records of all exemption requests, including the reasons for the exemption, its approval or disapproval by the Educational Standards Department, and any evidence submitted by the student or obtained by the law school in connection therewith. A copy of the record must be included with any certificate submitted to the Committee in proof of the student’s law study.

WITHDRAWAL AND READMISSION POLICIES

WITHDRAWAL POLICIES - Voluntary Withdrawal from School


1. Students may withdraw from school or request a leave of absence without prejudice, by written notification to the Registrar any time prior to the final examination week.


2. Any request to withdraw during the final examination week must be made in the form of a written petition to the Dean who will notify the petitioner of the final determination of such request.


3. Any student who withdraws will receive an Automatic “F” for all examination and course grades if the school is not notified of the intent to withdraw prior to the final examination week; if the request to withdraw without prejudice during the final examination week is denied; or if the student does not take the final examination.


4. Refunds of tuition upon withdrawal will be granted only in accordance with the refund policy outlined in the PACIFIC WEST financial information in this website click here


5. Students who have demonstrated potential and satisfactory performance in their law study who find that they must withdraw because of financial difficulties are urged to seek counseling before taking action to ensure that they have considered all the financial assistance programs and plans which are available to PACIFIC WEST students.

READMISSION POLICIES


1. Readmission After Withdrawal “In Good Standing”


1. A student who withdraws during the first semester of law study shall be treated as a new admission and the petition for readmission will be referred immediately to the Admissions Office.


2. A student who has successfully completed any units at PACIFIC WEST and who has taken a leave of absence not longer than one calendar year must petition the Dean of the College (or his or her designate) to be allowed to re-enroll as a continuing student.


3. A student who has taken a leave of absence of longer than one calendar year must appear in person before the Dean of the College (or his/her designate).


4. As a condition to his/her readmission a student who has taken a leave of absence for longer than one calendar year may be required to repeat courses taken prior to his/her withdrawal.



2. Readmission After Academic Exclusion


Readmission After Academic Exclusion is governed by Guideline 5.34 of the Guidelines for Unaccredited Law School Rules in California as follows:


Guideline 5.34 of the Guidelines for Unaccredited Law School Rules

5.34 Admission of Applicants Previously Disqualified for Academic Reasons


Applicants previously disqualified for academic reasons may be granted admission when there is an affirmative showing by the applicant that he or she possesses the requisite ability for the study of law. Such a showing may be made:


(A) At any time, if the applicant presents credible evidence that the prior disqualification was not caused by the applicant's lack of capacity for the study of law, but resulted from a traumatic event or serious hardship that prohibited the applicant from performing at her or his normal level; or


(B) After at least two (2) years have elapsed since the disqualification, if the applicant demonstrates that work, study, or other experience during the interim has resulted in a stronger potential for law study than the applicant exhibited at the time he or she was previously disqualified for academic reasons.


In each case, the dean or admission officer must sign and place in the applicant's file a statement of the reasons for admitting the applicant.


Since admission criteria in existence at the time of readmission will apply, readmission is not automatically guaranteed.

3. Readmission After Academic Exclusion for not Passing the FYLSE 


A.) Students who were academically disqualified for not passing the baby bar in the 3rd administration will not be re-admitted to the Juris Doctor program.


B.) Students who had been academically disqualified for not passing the FLYSE or Baby Bar within 3 consecutive administrations, Readmission after academic exclusion IS ONLY granted if and when the student passed the required Baby Bar exam. Upon readmission, the student will only be credited for the one year of legal study pursuant to the provision of Guideline 5.22 as set forth below:


 Guideline 5.22 of the Guidelines for Unaccredited Law School Rules

5.22 Disqualification of Students for Failure to Pass the First-Year Law Students’ Examination.


A student who does not pass the First-Year Law Students’ Examination within three (3) administrations after first becoming eligible to take                   the examination must be promptly disqualified from a law school’s J.D. program. A student who passes the First-Year Law Students’                           Examination within three (3) administrations after first becoming eligible to take it will receive credit for all legal studies completed to the                     time the examination is passed. A student who does not pass within the three (3) administrations after first becoming eligible to                     take it, but who subsequently passes, is eligible for re-enrollment in the law school’s J.D. program, but will receive credit for                      only one year of legal study.