The American Bar Association Standards for Approval of Law Schools and the policy of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law require regular and punctual class attendance in order for a student to satisfy residence and credit hour requirements. Accordingly, students are expected and required to attend all regularly scheduled Law School classes in which they are enrolled. Attendance includes preparation. Any student who fails to attend at least eighty percent of regularly scheduled classes for any course (i.e., fails to comply with “the 80% rule”) will be certified out and will receive a “U” (“unsatisfactory”) for the course. The 80% rule is applied based on the number of class meetings and not the number of credit hours for a course. For example:
|Course Meetings (per week)||Allowed Absences (per term)|
Individual faculty members may impose a greater class attendance requirement for a particular course.
Attendance records will be based on sign-in sheets that will be circulated during each class, although a faculty member may adopt a different procedure for monitoring attendance in a seminar or clinical course or if the faculty member chooses to impose a greater class attendance requirement than the 80% rule. It is the responsibility of each student to sign his or her name at the appropriate place on the attendance sheet prior to the end of each class, and each student who fails to do so will be considered absent. The standards of academic integrity apply to this policy.
Each student is responsible for maintaining his or her own records of attendance. As a courtesy, the School’s records for each student will be available through PeopleSoft in the my.pitt.edu portal. (Each student will have access only to his or her own records and will be able to view the attendance record for each class in which the student is registered. To learn how to track your attendance through PeopleSoft, please review the PDF or video tutorial that is available by clicking the “Learn More” link under the Student Center Login menu item. The instructions are titled “Viewing Your Law Class Attendance Online.”) Students will receive no other notice or warning regarding their attendance unless a student violates the 80% rule (i.e., exceeds the maximum allowable number of absences) in a particular class. In that event, the student will be certified out of that class and the Deans’ Office will send a letter to the student’s Law School mailbox notifying the student that he or she has been certified out of the class. The notice will be deemed to have been received by the student upon delivery to the student’s mailbox.
In accordance with University policy, absences due to religious observance will be excused. A student who plans to miss class for this reason should contact the Associate Dean of Students or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs with the dates on which and the specific classes for which the student will be absent due to religious observance.
The academic dean may allow additional absences under the following circumstances:
- A student’s participation in an educational, law school related activity (“school related activity”) is the predominant reason for a violation of the 80% rule, and
- The student has consulted with the professor and the academic dean regarding anticipated absences prior to participating in the school related activity.
Participation in a school related activity will be deemed the predominant reason for violating the 80% rule if at least three-fourths of a student’s absences are for actual participation in (rather than preparation for) the activity. For further guidance on the application of this exception to the attendance policy, please download the document titled "Application of Attendance Policy to Educational, Law School Related Activity," which is available on the right side of this page.
Please be advised that classes may be recorded as an accommodation for students whose absences have been excused under this policy, for make-up classes, or for other reasons.
Students who experience personal difficulties that may prevent them from complying with this policy are strongly encouraged to meet with the Associate Dean of Students or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to discuss what arrangements might be available to help with their situation.