V. Examinations and Papers

Although faculty have complete discretion as to how to evaluate their students, the Law School encourages multiple forms of evaluation, including evaluation of class participation, writing assignments and midterms, in addition to the final exam whenever possible. You must inform students of the method of evaluation in writing at the beginning of the semester, preferably in the syllabus.

Nothing raises students’ anxiety level more than unanticipated problems with or changes to their final exams. You should describe your final exam policies, including the length and type of exam (open book, closed book, multiple choice, essay, etc.) in your syllabus. Before making any changes, you must first consult with the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. If, after consultation, you change the format of your final exam, you must publish the changes in a revised syllabus posted to the course webpage. Please also send the change to the Assistant Dean for Student Services and your faculty assistant.

Exam questions should be written by the instructor. Questions from an instructor’s exams from prior years should not be reused if the prior exams are available to students. This includes questions from prior exams administered at another law school. Nor should questions be paraphrased from or copied directly from past exam questions published by a State Bar, or from commercial sources, such as bar exam preparation books or on-line software.

All courses with a final exam are required to have a review session during review week at the end of the instructional semester. The Registrar’s Office schedules this session. The Law School’s policy prohibits introducing new material during the review session; the session is limited to reviewing only the material already covered in class.

We schedule review sessions (as much as possible) for the same day and time the course met during the semester. Please contact the Registrar’s office if you need additional time for the review session, or if you have to reschedule the time assigned for your class.

The exam period runs for approximately two weeks at the end of each semester. Your students must take their exams during this period. About a month before the start of the examination period, you will receive a detailed memorandum from the Law School Registrar concerning the preparation of your final exam, along with a request for detailed information about your exam. We urge you to read the memo carefully and submit the requested information promptly. There is considerable “behind the scenes” work that must be completed before an exam can be administered.

All exams will be administered as take-home exams while law school classes are being conducted remotely. See below for information regarding take-home exams.

Law School policy requires instructors to be in the building when their exams are given, or at least accessible by phone.

The Law School Registrar schedules exams to minimize conflicts for students. Students are required to take exams on the scheduled date. You cannot change the scheduled date or time of your exam.

To preserve anonymous grading, students are instructed not to contact faculty if they have any issues with their exams, including illness or a family emergency (such as death in the family). You should not reschedule any individual exams yourself. The Law School has established rules and policies to deal with student hardship cases. Please refer all questions about exam rescheduling to the Law School Registrar.

We strongly suggest that you do not change the type of exam you will be giving (in-house vs. take-home vs. a final paper) after you have announced it in class and on your syllabus.

Students rely on the type of final assessment, and the exam schedule, when choosing their classes. Please make no changes in the nature of your final examination without conferring with the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

You are required to submit your examination to your faculty assistant at least three business days prior to your examination date. The Law Registrar’s Office sends the faculty an Exam Memo with deadlines about a month prior to exams. It is critical to comply with all deadlines. Because exams must be prepared for use with examination software, last- minute changes to exams may not be possible.

Your faculty assistant will send written exam responses to you via FedEx, and will supply you with a prepaid FedEx envelope to return exams to the Law School when you complete your grading.

Students download and upload their take-home exams from the online Take-Home exam interface. At the faculty member’s option, the student can complete the take-home exam either on a fixed day or at any time during the exam period. If on a fixed day, the Law School Registrar schedules the take-home to minimize conflicts with other exams. Law School staff will not print the exam responses for the faculty while law school classes are conducted remotely. It is recommended that faculty grade exams electronically to avoid printing and scanning.

Faculty giving take-home exams must submit the text of the exam to their faculty assistant at least three business days before the start time of the download period. It is important to note that take-home exams do not utilize the same software as in-class exams. This means that secure exams that lock students out of all other software on their computers are not possible. Additionally, closed-book exams cannot be enforced, though you are welcome to indicate an exam is closed-book and remind students of the Honor Code. Multiple Choice questions cannot be graded automatically, as they are for in-class exams. If you plan to incorporate multiple choice questions on your take-home exam, please contact your faculty assistant to determine the best way to do so.

Faculty may administer final papers or other types of final projects (such as a final trial or negotiation).

All final papers are due by the close of business on the last day of the exam period. Final papers and other non-anonymous written assingments should be submitted through Canvas.

Our IT Department assigns students three different anonymous numbers each term: a paper number, a midterm number, and a final exam number. IT generates new anonymous numbers for students each semester to retain anonymity. Students access their anonymous numbers via My Courses. Faculty will not be able to identify a student by his/her anonymous number until grading is complete.

Some instructors give a midterm exam as well as a final. Midterms provide students with feedback on their performance, and can be an excellent learning opportunity. Because grading is anonymous at the Law School (see the previous paragraph), students must use an anonymous midterm number.

Midterms must be administered during the class hour itself to avoid time conflicts; this requires advance planning. If you plan to give a midterm, please notify your faculty assistant at least two weeks prior to the administration of the midterm.

If you opt to give one or more quizzes, please notify your faculty assistant at least two weeks prior to the quiz. Please note that all timed quizzes must be administered by the Law School Registrar.

Upper-level students must complete at least one major writing project, substantial research paper, or equivalent number of smaller writing projects with frequent feedback from a faculty member. This might include seminars, Directed Research, or other work, so long as it involves substantial original analysis and research, multiple drafts, and the faculty member certifies that the paper meets this requirement (Academic Rule I. F). Students are responsible for obtaining the faculty member’s signature on the Upper-Level Writing Requirement Sign-Off form.

Unit 18 Lecturers, visitors, and adjuncts are welcome to offer classes that satisfy the Upper Level Writing Requirement. 

The Academic Rule does not define the number of pages a student must write to meet the “substantial” requirement. If you have questions about common faculty interpretations of the Rule, please speak to the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or the Assistant Dean for Student Services.

Students may enroll in Directed Research (independent study) only under the supervision of a full-time faculty member or full-time staff serving as a Unit 18 lecturer. Students must obtain written permission from the Assistant Dean for Student Services and the instructor before they can enroll in a Directed Research project with a Unit 18 lecturer, adjunct, or visiting professor (Academic Rule II. G).  

There are complicated rules governing deadlines to complete the writing requirement (Rule I.F. and Rule V.) If a student needs additional time to finish the paper, please speak to the Assistant Dean for Student Services.

Consistent with call for reform in legal education, the Third Year Intensive (TYI) is designed to engage 3L students through a focused project that places less emphasis on mastery of doctrine and instead emphasizes skills (ranging from particular types of writing to general skills like negotiation and counseling to more abstract skills like problem-solving). Through the TYI, students can build expertise in a specific area of law, develop law practice skills beyond those acquired during the required clinic or Alternative Field Placement, and/or design a capstone experience at the culmination of their legal education. A special notation appears on a student’s transcript upon completion of a TYI. Students are responsible for obtaining the faculty member’s signature on the TYI Sign-Off form.

For more details on this voluntary program, please see the TYI Handbook.