101 Paul W. Bryant Drive East, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
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For more than 135 years, the University of Alabama School of Law has produced attorneys who become leaders locally, nationally and globally.
Alabama Law provides a top-rate education at an affordable cost in a supportive and diverse environment. The school has 409 JD students, 49 full-time faculty, 5 clinical programs, and first-year JD students currently represent 64 undergraduate institutions.
The above LSAT and GPA data pertain to the fall 2016 entering class.
|Director of admissions||Claude Arrington|
Law School Admissions details based on 2016 data.
|Approximate number of applications||1524|
The above admission details are based on 2016 data.
|Tuition and fees Full-time:||$23,055 per year (in-state)
$39,115 per year (out-of-state)
|Room and board||$12,400|
Examinations are graded anonymously. Each student’s exams are identified by a number, which changes each semester. The registrar’s office very carefully protects students’ anonymity, and students are expected to refrain from disclosing information (such as marking an exam “graduating senior” or some other subtle identification) to professors that might identify their exams. A professor does not learn the student name associated with a grade until after the professor has turned in the grades. Professors are not given students’ anonymous numbers. After grades are determined, however, students are given opportunities to discuss examinations with professors.
The Law School Student Records Office safeguards the secrecy of the anonymous numbers by handling the mechanics of matching grades with names.
Grades are distributed to students by the Student Records Office on an announced day after all examinations have ended. Professors do not distribute grades.
Seminars, workshops, oral reports, papers and problems are not under the anonymous grading system, unless the professor so chooses.
A student’s work in law school courses and seminars is graded on a numeric scale running from zero to 4.0, which corresponds to the letter grades in the chart below. An anonymous grading system is used.
|Law School Grades||Corresponding Letter Grades|
Failing a Course
Should a student fail a course, the dean may require the student to repeat that course. Students must repeat and pass all required classes to graduate. The grade of “I” (incomplete) may be assigned at the law school’s discretion when, for acceptable and approved reasons, a student has been unable to complete the required work for a course or seminar. The award of the “I” instead of 0.0 may be contingent upon completion of the unfinished work, at which time another grade may be assigned, or upon other terms fixed by the School of Law.
Although it is not the general practice to do so, in courses other than seminars, and after notification to students at the start of the semester, a professor may raise grades by .3 for class participation or lower grades by .3 for lack of participation. In seminars, class participation or lack thereof may not count for more than 50% of the final course grade. In workshops, class participation or lack thereof may be the sole determinant of the grade.
For serious failure on the part of the student to participate in class as required by the professor, the student may be dropped from the course.
Beginning with Spring 2010 semester grades, the Top 15% of students will receive individual numeric rankings at the end of the Spring and Fall semesters. At the end of the Spring and Fall semesters, the Registrar will publish the GPA for the Top 10%, Top 20%, Top 25%, Top 33%, and Top 50% of each class. Students thus will know, and can indicate on their resumes, if and where their grades would place them within these “bands” within the top half of the class. Students outside the Top 15% will not receive individual ranks.
Starting Summer 2014, the faculty approved the following policy regarding distribution of grades:
Grades in required first-year classes must adhere to a mandatory mean of 3.2. (Any calculated mean between 3.1500 and 3.2500, inclusive, shall be deemed to satisfy this standard.) Example distributions are as follows:
Grades in other classes need not adhere to a mandatory mean. However, grades in those classes should adhere as close to a mean of 3.3 (the mandatory mean imposed on upper-level classes of more than 12 students from Fall 2009 to Spring 2014) as is consistent with fairness and common sense. Faculty members teaching classes of 13 students or more whose calculated mean falls outside the range of 3.2500 to 3.3500, inclusive, must provide a written justification for the discrepancy when they submit their grades.
As a rule, larger classes should adhere more closely to the target mean than smaller classes because the unusual circumstances that warrant non-standard grading are less likely to occur. As the size of the class diminishes, more flexibility in grading may be required. The students enrolled in a small class may, for example, be exceptionally skilled or exceptionally dedicated to the subject matter. However, students should not expect to receive higher grades in small classes as a matter of course, nor should they receive higher grades in a small class than similar effort and ability would produce in a large class. It is the responsibility of every faculty member to ensure that their grading reflects these principles.
Even in the smallest classes, the grades awarded should reflect genuine differences in student performance. In classes of twelve students or fewer, generally no more than one half of the class should be awarded a grade of A- or higher. Faculty members who deviate from that expectation must provide a written justification for the discrepancy when they submit their grades.
A+ grades should be awarded only in cases where the top student’s performance is clearly superior to the performance of other students receiving A grades. No more than one A+ grade may be awarded in any class.
Instructors in externships, trial advocacy classes, clinics, and other Pass/D/Fail classroom-based skills courses may award up to 1/3 of the students in the course a “High Pass” (HP).
In the calculation of a class mean, grades of C and lower shall be counted as 2.00. This policy shall apply only to the calculation of a class mean; it does not affect the calculation of a particular student’s grade point average.
In the calculation of a mandatory class mean or application of any other grading rule, only the grades of Law School students are counted. Grades of graduate students from other departments, undergraduate students, and international students not seeking a J.D. degree are not counted.
If, after grades are reported to students, a grade must be changed due to a mathematical or clerical error, and the change results in a deviation from an otherwise mandatory grading standard, other grades need not be changed to compensate. Faculty members may not change a reported grade based on subjective considerations, such as a re-evaluation of the strength of an analysis. Subjective considerations should be addressed in the initial grading process, not in the context of an appeal.
Grade distributions, together with written justifications for deviations from the Faculty’s grading standards, shall be made available to the Dean before those grades are posted. If the Dean determines that the grading for a class exhibits a substantial and unwarranted deviation from the Faculty’s standards, the Dean should invite further explanation from the faculty member who submitted the grades. If the Dean still concludes that the deviation is substantial and unwarranted, and the faculty member declines to change the grades, the Dean may appoint a committee of faculty members to re-evaluate the grades. The committee shall review the graded materials and invite explanation for the deviation from the faculty member who taught the class. If the committee determines that the deviation from the Faculty’s standards is substantial and unwarranted, the committee shall award appropriate grades. If grades must be changed, the committee shall solicit the assistance of the faculty member who taught the class. Grade changes pursuant to this policy should be very rare, and undertaken only under extraordinary circumstances. If reasonable minds could conclude that a deviation from the Faculty’s grading standards is not unwarranted, grades should not be changed.
|Order of the Coif||Order of the Coif is awarded to the top 10% of the graduating class. Students may not have more than 22 pass/d/fail hours to qualify. Students not pursuing this honor do not have a limit on the number of pass/d/fail hours they can take.The process for calculating the transfer students’ GPA for Order of the Coif purposes is still under consideration.|
|summa cum laude||Top 5%|
|magna cum laude||Next 10%|
|cum laude||Next 10%|
|Name of Award||Awarded for/to|
|Dean M. Leigh Harrison Award||This award is presented at the end of the fifth semester to those students who are in the top five percent of their class, and have demonstrated above average ability in legal writing. The award represents outstanding achievement in academic performance, legal writing, scholarship, and intellectual attainment.|
|Order of the Samaritan||To qualify for the Order of the Samaritan, a student must qualify for both the Law School’s Dean’s Community Service Award and the Alabama State Bar’s VLP Student Award OR the Public Interest Institute’s Independent Legal Public Service Program.|
|Dean’s Community Service Award||The Dean’s Community Service Award is awarded to students who complete at least 40 hours of legal or non-legal community service while in law school.|
|Alabama Volunteer Lawyers Program Student Award||To earn the VLP Student Award, law students at Alabama’s two accredited law schools must volunteer for at least 50 hours at an approved law office that services primarily indigent persons.|
|Bench & Bar Legal Honor Society||All second- and third-year students with a minimum scholastic average of 3.0 after completion of a minimum of 25 hours in law school are eligible for membership. Selection into the Bench & Bar Legal Honor Society is based on the student’s GPA and participation in student government, legal journals, moot court, trial advocacy, law school societies, and other extracurricular activities. No more than fifteen percent of the student body shall be members.|
|Independent Legal Public Service Program Award||A minimum of 50 hours of legal services must be in an approved law office or non-profit organization. The law office or non-profit organization can be anywhere in the country and must not fall within the VLP Student Award parameters. Students may work on legal issues in any of the following areas: race, gender, sexual orientation, animal rights/cruelty, environmental, and under-privileged groups (ex., prisoners, elderly, homeless, low-income, children, disabled, rural workers, etc.).|
Alabama Law Review
The Alabama Law Review is a nationally recognized journal of legal scholarship and the flagship legal journal in the state of Alabama. Each year, the Alabama Law Review publishes contributions from leading scholars as well as selected works from its own members.
The editors of the Alabama Law Review are tasked with carefully analyzing these articles and preparing them for publication in each of the four issues the journal publishes each year. As a light-edit journal, the Alabama Law Review seeks to preserve the integrity of author contributions while also guaranteeing accurate and useful citations that can provide helpful commentary and guidance to academics, the state bar, and the broader intellectual community. Each article undergoes a rigorous multi-level review to ensure the most accurate citations available.
In addition to their work as editors, members of the Alabama Law Review serve as student leaders at the University of Alabama School of Law. They regularly attend numerous lectures and symposia held each year and play a major role in welcoming visiting faculty and other distinguished guests to campus. The Alabama Law Review also publishes pieces by participants in the prestigious annual Meador Lecture Series each year for the benefit of the broader legal community.
Alabama Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review
Our University had its own brush with civil rights history when then-Alabama Governor, George Wallace, made his iniquitous “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door.” It was then, on June 11, 1963, where segregation – enforced by the full color and force of the law ended – dying a death not with rocks, bullets or bombs but with a beaten, defeated ideology stepping meekly out of the way for progress and the never-ending march toward equality. Law students watched the governor’s defiance that day from Farrah Hall, the original home of the law school and neighbor to nearby Foster Auditorium. While today’s law students may no longer watch as history unfolds from the school’s back windows, the students at the University of Alabama School of Law remain a vital part of the world around them. Many of us continue to be interested in the quest for civil rights for all, and through this journal year, UA law students will have an opportunity to join the fight.
Starting from just a small seed, students nurtured a proposal and won approval from the law faculty in late 2008. Their idea? The Alabama Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Law Review – a specialized law journal to track developments in the vital and interconnected areas of civil rights and civil liberties. In the field of civil rights, we survey and follow the drive for equality as the specter of discrimination – be it along racial, ethnic, religious or other lines which we use to divide one another – still lurks in many corners of everyday life. Wallace may have chosen the University as the site to make his stand over 45 years ago, but today, The University of Alabama is home to something breathtakingly different: a new vanguard for the rights and freedoms of all Americans.
Journal of the Legal Profession
The Journal of the Legal Profession was the nation’s first periodical exploring legal ethics and problems confronting the profession. For nearly forty years, essays by distinguished judges, attorneys, and legal scholars have constituted The Journal of the Legal Profession’s main text.
The student staff, selected from the top 50% of students after their first year in law school, conducts research and writes commentary on cases raising questions of professional ethics. The publication provides students a unique opportunity to examine the legal community from an ethics perspective and to present their findings and opinions to an international readership.
Law & Psychology Review
The Law & Psychology Review is a law journal that addresses the interplay between the disciplines of law and psychology. Founded in 1975 by law students of the University of Alabama who were concerned with the rights of the mentally disabled, the Law & Psychology Review was one of the first journals to combine the disciplines of law and the behavioral sciences. The journal has significantly developed since its establishment, such that it has recently been named by Washington & Lee University School of Law as the top student-edited law journal pertaining to both law and psychology.
The scope of the Law & Psychology Review has expanded to include a broad variety of topics, such as consent to treatment, capital punishment, the rights of juveniles, the psychological aspects of expert and character evidence, and the intricacies of juror selection and decision-making. The Managing Board of the journal consistently seeks to diversify the subjects addressed by the journal and to make available to the public quality articles and research pertaining to both psychology and law.
The Law & Psychology Review is published in the Spring of each year. The journal features articles written and researched by noted legal scholars and psychologists in addition to articles written by students. All published articles are edited by the Managing Board of the journal, and to further ensure the quality of the published articles, all articles are reviewed by professors and students of the law-psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Alabama.
International Moot Court (Jessup)
The Grimes Moot Court Competition traditionally has been viewed as the most prestigious of all BC Law intramural competitions. Held each spring, it is a valuable opportunity for second-year students to develop both written and oral appellate advocacy skills. The Grimes finals, presided over by a distinguished panel, are the highlight of the year's advocacy programs. The problems involve issues of Constitutional or federal statutory interpretation, and the subject matter of the competition alternates annually between civil and criminal law. Participation in the competition is a prerequisite to be considered for membership on third-year academic moot court teams.
The Law School’s team for the Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition has enjoyed much recent success, consistently winning both memorial and oralist awards.
The Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is an international moot court competition with participating teams from over 500 law schools in 80 countries. The moot competition is set before the International Court of Justice, which is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, and is based on a fictional dispute between countries.
Skills training is an important mission of The University of Alabama School of Law. One critical component of the school’s professional skills curriculum is its five law clinics — the Civil Law Clinic, Criminal Defense Law Clinic, Domestic Violence Law Clinic, Elder Law Clinic, and Mediation Law Clinic. These clinics provide free legal assistance to low-income individuals and community organizations and offer students an opportunity to represent real clients in a variety of substantive areas including civil litigation, consumer law, criminal law, domestic relations, elder law, nonprofit organizations law, and others. The Law School guarantees every interested student the opportunity to participate in at least one law clinic before graduating, one of the few schools in the country that makes such a guarantee.
Civil Law Clinic
Students provide free legal advice and representation in a wide variety of civil cases to University of Alabama students and to members of the community.
Criminal Defense Clinic
Students represent indigent clients through the Tuscaloosa County Public Defender’s Office in all phases of the criminal justice system.
Domestic Violence Law Clinic
Students provide free and comprehensive legal assistance on civil matters to victims of domestic violence in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.
Elder Law Clinic
Students represent individuals aged 60 and over in matters such as Medicare, Medicaid and other public benefits; protection from abuse, neglect, and exploitation; advance directives and durable powers of attorney; the drafting of wills; consumer fraud; and a broad array of other civil matters.
Mediation Law Clinic
Students provide individuals with free mediation services who have cases pending in family courts in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.
Starting Salaries (2016 Graduates Employed Full-Time)
|Private sector (25th-75th percentile)||$50,000 - $90,000|
|Median in the private sector||$61,500|
|Median in public service||$45,000|
|Graduates known to be employed at graduation||43.1%|
|Graduates known to be employed ten months after graduation||81.3%|
Areas of Legal Practice
|Graduates Employed In||Percentage|
|Business and Industry||14.8%|
|Public Interest Organizations||4.4%|
The University of Alabama School of Law (Law School) is committed to offering its students the highest quality of legal education. In fulfillment of that goal, the Law School recognizes the value of employing a variety of methodologies and experiences. One such experience is the placement of students in practical legal settings outside of the Law School.
Externships assist the Law School in meeting its overall educational objective by permitting students to engage in the practical application of the legal knowledge gained in the classroom and practical skills learned in the classroom and in clinical settings. Externships provide students with an environment in which they can test the theories which they have learned in Law School and obtain verification of the practical application of the body of law and legal skills taught by the Law School.
Academic Year Externship (Law 795). 2 Hours.
During the academic year, placements are available in the chambers of state and federal judges and magistrates. In the Spring semester, additional placements are available at the offices of non-profit public interest organizations. Students work eight hours per week in the offices where they are placed. Duties include hearing and pretrial preparation and assistance on trials and appeals. They will also attend several class sessions and submit multiple papers during and following the externship.
Students may only pursue one externship application below, whether to apply for a public interest placement or a judicial placement. You may not apply for both in the same semester.
Federal Externship (Law 733). 10 hours.
In the Spring semester of each academic year a group of University of Alabama law students will have the opportunity to earn ten hours of externship credit working in Washington, D.C. with the U.S. Congress or an executive branch agency. Duties will primarily include assisting lawyers serving as Congressional and Senate staff members and as counsel in executive branch agencies. In addition, externs will earn two additional hours of regular academic credit by participating in a legislation course taught in Washington and offered specifically for students participating in the externship program. In Spring 2014, the course will be co-taught by Michael House, Director of Hogan Lovells’s legislative group, and by Ed Rogers, Chairman of BGR Group. Both the externship and the associated legislation course help students fulfill the requirements of the Law School’s Certificate in Governmental Affairs.
The Federal Legislative Externship Program is directed by Associate Dean Anne Hornsby.
Summer Externship (Law 634). 5 Hours.
During the summer, placements are available with offices specializing in criminal law (e.g., United States Attorneys, District Attorneys, Public Defenders, and Alabama’s Attorney General) and civil law (e.g., U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, Governor’s Legal Counsel’s office, Legal Services, National Labor Relations Board, and University of Alabama Counsel’s office). Students work full time during a 6-week session under the direct supervision of attorneys in the offices to which they are assigned. They also attend externship classes at the Law School and submit papers during and at the conclusion of the externship. Students must apply and interview with the director of the Externship Program during the spring semester.
The Summer Externship Program is directed by Associate Dean Anne Hornsby and Adjunct Instructor Judge Bill Bostick. Judge Bostick is an Alabama Circuit Court Judge, Shelby County, and previously served as an Assistant District Attorney for Shelby County, Alabama, where he specialized in felony and capital prosecutions.
Students provide free legal advice and representation to University of Alabama students and to members of the community in civil matters on a limited referral basis. Students handle cases from intake interviews through negotiations and to hearings and trials in small claims, district, and circuit courts. The Clinic’s caseload encompasses a wide variety of legal claims, including consumer law, debt collection defense, domestic relations, housing, insurance, municipal court infractions (misdemeanors), torts, and other civil matters.