All ABA-accredited law schools are required to
abide by the Standards for Approval of Law Schools of the American Bar
Association, including the rule that, "A law school shall require
regular and punctual class attendance"*. This provision carries with it
a clear, affirmative duty on the part of each institution:
Consistent with these directives, the UMKC School
of Law faculty believes that dependability is an essential
characteristic of a good lawyer. The Law School’s objective is not only
to ensure academic success, of which attendance is a major component,
but also the development of good professional habits.
- A law school shall demonstrate that it has
adopted and enforces policies insuring that individual students satisfy
the requirements of this Standard, including the implementation of
policies relating to class scheduling, attendance and limitation on
Over the years the Law School faculty has
experimented with different attendance policies and has found that,
without such a policy, attendance becomes noticeably lax, which in turn
can contribute to poor performance on the bar examination.
Moreover, the faculty recognizes that sound
academic reasons exist for adopting a uniform attendance policy that
allows some classes to require even more stringent attendance
Finally, the faculty recognizes that, if it
imposes a mandatory attendance policy on students, the faculty also
needs to impose compulsory attendance-taking on itself, using a
standardized system, to ensure uniformity, fairness and predictability
in the implementation of its attendance policy.
* Standard 304(d), Standards for Approval of Law Schools of the American Bar Association.
** Interpretation 304-6, Standards for Approval of Law Schools of the American Bar Association.
- Every faculty member shall take attendance
each day of class by distributing a sign-in sheet consisting of a
current class roster, or a suitable alternative. If a sign-in sheet is
used, each student in attendance must sign the roster next to his or
her name. The faculty member or her administrative assistant shall
deliver completed attendance sheets or the results of the suitable
alternative method of taking attendance to the Director of Student
- Each student shall be allowed absences up to, but not
exceeding, two times the number of credit hours in a course. (For
example, a student in a three-hour class that meets in two 75-minute
sessions each week may miss a total of four such sessions. A student in
a three-hour class that meets in three 50-minute sessions may miss a
total of six such sessions.) In their discretion, faculty members may
require fewer, but may not allow more, absences. If a faculty member
intends to impose a more stringent attendance policy, he/she must
notify students of the policy by announcement in class or in writing or
by electronic posting during the first week of the semester.
- Each absence exceeding the limitation imposed by paragraph
2, above, shall result in a one-step letter grade reduction for the
course to be assessed by the Dean’s Office, e.g., from "B" to "B-" or
from "A-" to "B+". (For example, a student who misses five classes in a
three hour class that meets in two 75-minute sessions will be assessed
a one-step grade penalty. If that student misses a sixth class, he or
she will be assessed an additional one-step grade penalty.) A faculty
member may in his or her discretion in consultation with the Associate
Dean impose other academic requirements in lieu of the grade reduction.
- Accumulated absences exceeding three times the number of
credit hours in a course shall result in the student's administrative
withdrawal from the course provided the student is in good standing at
that time, i.e., provided the student has not earned the grade of "F"
for work completed at the time of withdrawal. Students who are not in
good standing will receive a grade of "WF" for the course.
- Students may appeal a grade-assessment or involuntary course
withdrawal to the Associate Dean in writing within one week of
notification of the assessment/withdrawal.
- This policy does not affect a faculty member's guidelines for
the turning in of out-of-class assignments and papers. The individual
faculty member, not the Dean's office, has the sole discretion to award
late penalties for failing to turn in an assignment or paper on time or
to excuse the late handing in of assignments and papers. For this
reason, the Dean's office only oversees student absences from class.
- Students and faculty will be responsible for monitoring their own compliance with this policy.
- Falsification of attendance records constitutes a violation of the UMKC School of Law Honor Code.