Legal education is generally a passageway to careers of service in law, either in private practice or in a public capacity. The standards of responsibility for that service are high and exacting. In part, the appreciation of these responsibilities is gained by habit and example; the Law School helps to form these professional attitudes as an integral part of the education it provides. The responsibilities of law students are of course different from those of lawyers. Yet in a real sense professional responsibility begins upon entering law school. Students are regarded, and should regard themselves, as committed to integrity and effectiveness in the legal profession. That commitment requires consideration, honesty, and fair dealing in academic enterprises, in the law school community, and in personal and professional relations outside the law school. The Columbia Law School demands this rigorously of faculty and students alike.
The following pages contain detailed requirements for the J.D. degree. Each candidate is responsible for a thorough knowledge of them. However, students must measure their conduct not only by these specifics but also by a general standard of ethical professional behavior.