Exams, Grading, & Honors

The Office of the Registrar oversees the administration of Law School examinations and the grading process.

Each term, this section will be updated with the newest information regarding exams. You can also find information here on how to access exams, and how grading works at Columbia Law School.

Students taking a Law School examination are expected to take an examination at the scheduled date and start time. Failure to do so will result in a grade of Failure (F) (see Rules for the J.D. Degree). Examination rules apply to all students taking a Law course, regardless of degree program. If you are unable to take an examination at the proper time, please email Registration Services at: [email protected]. NOTE: If you start an exam late, you will not receive compensatory time.

Any excuse granted on grounds of illness or other physical disability is conditioned upon receiving a satisfactory medical note from the attending physician.

If you self-identify with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) and are granted special examination conditions, ODS will send confirmation of your exam accommodations to Registration Services. Shortly before the exam period Registration Services will email you with information about your exam accommodations. 

ANONYMOUS GRADING OF EXAMS: Final exams administered by Registration Services are graded anonymously. Therefore, students are not permitted to write their name on any page an exam, and must not contact the instructor directly about an exam before final grades for the course are posted. If you experience any difficulty before or during an exam, you should notify Registration Services [email protected]Do not contact the instructor about an exam at any time before the final course grades are posted.

Once the instructor submits the final exam grade to Registration Services, they can adjust the final course grade to factor in class performance or other work. The final course grade then is submitted to Registration Services and subsequently released to the student via LawNet. If you would like to discuss your exam with the instructor, you may do so only after your final course grade has been posted in LawNet.

With a resolution passed in December 1994, the Faculty of Law established the grading system of A, B (both with plus and minus designations), C, F. In May 2008 the Faculty of Law passed a resolution adding the grade of W, to be recorded on the official transcript when students withdraw from a course after the close of the Law School’s official Change of Program period and through October 15 in the fall term and February 15 in the spring term. Some courses and clinics offer a grade of CR (credit) as an option, while other courses, and some research and writing categories, are graded as Credit/Fail. There are very few Credit/Fail courses at the Law School, and courses with this grading system will so indicate in their online descriptions.

Work in Columbia University schools other than Law will be graded on the A-B-C-F scale. A minimum grade of C is required to earn credit in such offerings. For work undertaken while visiting at other Law Schools, both in the United States and abroad, a minimum grade of C is required to earn Law credit.

Grades for fall term courses are due by the Friday before the first day of the spring term. For spring term courses, grades are due by June 1 for continuing students, and by the week before Commencement for May degree candidates. Instructors who have 150 or more exams to grade are given a week or so extra to submit all their grades. For detailed information, refer to the May 2012 Faculty Resolution on Grade Submission Dates.

In the spring term, instructors are asked to submit grades for graduating students early so that Registration Services can complete graduation clearance prior to Commencement. To allow sufficient time for instructors to grade written work for graduating students, their deadline for submission of papers is the last day of classes for the term.

To access your grades through LawNet, go to www.law.columbia.edu/lawnet. You will need a user ID and a password, which will be given to you during the computer training sessions sponsored by the Law School’s Department of Information Technology (IT) during orientation or early in the term. These sessions can also be completed online. For assistance with LawNet, contact the Information Technology helpdesk at [email protected].

To obtain access to the University’s many student services, including the grades on your official University transcript, you must set up your University network account by visiting the Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT) website at www.columbia.edu/cuit. For new students, additional information is provided during the mandatory IT computer training sessions.