Inspiring Excellence in Law

Explore Cal Northern School of Law’s
Academic Programs!

Located in Chico, CA, our faculty is comprised of judges, commissioners, and practicing attorneys who bring real-world experience to the classroom. We offer in-person and online synchronous instruction that is livestreamed via interactive Zoom sessions. Continue reading to learn more about our academic calendar, programs, and more.

Academic Catalog

Academic Calendar

Fall Semester 2022/2023

Registration July 25, 2022- August 2, 2022
Orientation for Beginning Students August 2, 2022
1st Year Instruction Begins August 3, 2022
2nd, 3rd, & 4th Year Instruction Begins August 16, 2022
Labor Day (Holiday) September 5, 2022
Midterm Examinations October 4, 2022-October 6, 2022
Law School Information Day – Join us and meet students, faculty and alumni. Inquire about admission requirements, course offerings, internships and career opportunities. Our informational forum will help prospective students learn about law school from current and former students. You will learn what law school is like and the amount of work involved. The first half hour is a presentation by our Dean and faculty followed by an informal question and answer period. October 17, 2022 6:30 PM- 8:00 PM
Veterans Day (Holiday) November 11, 2022
Thanksgiving (Holiday) November 22, 2022- November 27, 2022
Instruction Ends December 1, 2022
Final Examinations December 10, 2022
Winter Recess December 12, 2022- January 2, 2023

 

Spring Semester 2022/2023

Registration December 19, 2022-January 2, 2023
Instruction Begins January 3, 2023
Martin Luther King Day (Holiday) January 16, 2023
Presidents Day (Holiday) February 20, 2023
Midterm Examinations February 21, 2023- February 23, 2023
Law School Information Day – Join us and meet students, faculty and alumni. Inquire about admission requirements, course offerings, internships and career opportunities. Our informational forum will help prospective students learn about law school from current and former students. You will learn what law school is like and the amount of work involved. The first half hour is a presentation by our Dean and faculty followed by an informal question and answer period. March 27, 2023 from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Spring Break March 13, 2023- March 17, 2023
Instruction Ends April 20, 2023
Final Examinations April 29, 2023
Commencement May 6, 2023

*2nd Year- Please note Evidence Final Exam date is February 6th at 6:30p.m.

*4th Year­-Please note Remedies Final Exam date is February 6th at 6:30p.m.

Summer Semester 2022/2023

Registration April 24, 2023- May 8, 2023
Instruction Begins May 9, 2023
Memorial Day (Holiday) May 29, 2023
Application deadline for Fall 2022 Admission June 1, 2023
Midterm Examinations June 6, 2023- June 7, 2023
4th of July (Holiday) July 1, 2023- July 4, 2023
Instruction Ends July 12, 2023
Final Examinations July 22, 2023
Summer Recess July 24, 2023- August 14, 2023

Academic Information

Grades

All grades will be given as a numerical percentage from 0 – 100%. Numerical percentages will not be converted into an alphabetical grading system. Transcripts will reflect the numerical percentage given in a course at the end of the semester.

Courses taken for credit without a grade (“Pass/Fail”) will be reflected on the transcript as either Pass or Fail and will not factor into the cumulative numerical percentage.

A total numerical percentage will be given for courses taken each semester and a cumulative numerical percentage will be given for all courses taken at Cal Northern.

Academic Standards

Attendance: Cal Northern School of Law is for those students who want to become lawyers. Attendance is not only required but is a measure of desire and motivation. Students are required to attend eighty percent (80%) of scheduled classes. A student who fails to attend the required 80% is considered to have an unsatisfactory attendance record and may be asked to withdraw from school. A student who misses three class periods of a course in one semester without permission of academic-standards Dean is subject to automatic withdrawal from school. The policy of the school allows the Dean to approve absences in case of illness or emergency.

Examinations: Final examinations are given at the end of each semester. Mid-terms are given in all bar courses. Instructors of non-bar courses may, at their discretion, give mid-term examinations. Each instructor will announce his/her grading policy at the beginning of the semester.

Probation: A numerical percentage of 2.00 is required for good standing and graduation. A student who earns a semester grade point average below 2.00 will be placed on academic warning. A student who has a cumulative numerical percentage below 2.00 at the end of an academic year may be advanced to the next year of study on probation under the following circumstances:

The student must petition the Dean for advancement on probation.
Advancement on probation will be granted for only one year, and once granted the student must thereafter maintain at least a 2.00 average.
The minimum numerical percentage for advancement on probation is:
From first year to second year… 1.80
From second year to third year… 1.90

A student who fails to maintain the average requirement will be academically disqualified. Upon approval of a timely petition to the Faculty Senate a student may be permitted to repeat coursework and continue their studies at Cal Northern.

Student Services – Tutoring Program: At the end of the Fall semester any 1st Year student in the J.D. program with a course grade of less than 70, and any 1st Year student in the M.L.S. program with a course grade of less than 65, will be required to participate in a minimum of three (3) tutoring sessions as part of Cal Northern’s Student Services-Tutoring Program.

Any student in the J.D. program with a cumulative semester grade point average of less than 2.00 and any student in the M.L.S. program with a cumulative semester grade point average of less than 1.50 will be placed on Academic Warning and will be required to participate in a minimum of three (3) tutoring sessions as part of Cal Northern’s Student Services-Tutoring Program.

The Tutoring Program is designed to best serve students’ academic needs by carefully developing individualized curriculum designed to meet students’ expectations for successful completion of law school. While required for the above referenced students the Tutoring Program is available to all students.

Eligibility to advance to the next year of study may be contingent upon a student’s participation in the tutoring program (absent extenuating circumstances which will be reviewed by the Dean on a case by case basis). These workshops are designed to help develop essay exam skills such as issue spotting, outlining, organization and factual analysis and are open to all students.

First Year Law Students Examinations – “Baby Bar”

All “Special Students” are required to take the First Year Law Students Examination (FYLSX). A “Special Student” who is required to take the FYLSX shall not receive credit for any law study until the applicant has passed the examination. A “Special Student” who passes the examination within three consecutive administrations of first becoming eligible to take the examination upon completion of one year of law study, shall receive credit for all law study completed to the date of the administration of the examination passed. A “Special Student” who does not pass the examination within three consecutive administrations of first becoming eligible to take the examination but who subsequently passes the examination shall receive credit for his or her first year of law study only.

Cal Northern School of Law policy requires that all first year “Regular Students” who do not have cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or better after the Fall semester of study at Cal Northern, must register to take the FYLSX.

If the cumulative grade point average is less than 2.00 at the end of the Spring semester, the student is required to take the FYLSX. If the cumulative grade point average increases to 2.00 or better by the end of the Spring semester, the student is not required to take the FYLSX.

A “Regular Student” who is required by school policy to take the FYLSX and who does not pass on the first attempt, may be permitted to advance to the second year of study at Cal Northern on academic probation. The student is required to register and take the next scheduled FYLSX.

Any student who fails to pass on the third attempt will be academically disqualified from further attendance at Cal Northern School of Law.

The fees paid to the Committee of Bar Examiners to register for the FYLSX may not be refundable. Any student who is required by Cal Northern policy to register for the FYLSX but is not required by Cal Northern policy to take the examination, may lose the registration fee. This fee is not reimbursable by Cal Northern School of Law.

First year students must check with Admissions no later than February 1 of their first year of study to determine whether they are required under this policy to register for the FYLSX.

Degree

Students are eligible for the degree of Juris Doctor (J.D.) when they have completed a minimum of 84 semester units in accordance with the prescribed curriculum; maintained a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or better throughout their study at the law school and attended the Kaplan PMBR 7-Day Foundation Multistate Bar Review program prior to graduation.

Honor System

All examinations given at Cal Northern School of Law shall be conducted under the Honor System. The Honor System is hereby defined as follows:

  1. Each student participating in any mid-term, final, or other examination given by any of the instructors at the law school shall be on his or her honor not to bring outlines, notes, or other materials into the examination room during the time in which the student takes the examination.
  2. No student shall protect other students seeking assistance, either oral or written, during the examination.

Ethical Standards & Disciplinary Procedures

Standards have been developed which define expectations Cal Northern School of Law has of its students; other policies have been implemented which address student rights and the procedures students may use to exercise those rights.

Student Handbook 2021-2022 Academic Integrity Policy Statement 2021-2022 Virtual Classroom Policies & Expectations

Program Learning Outcomes

Cal Northern School of Law (CNSL) has adopted a set of specific program learning outcomes which are mission-based, providing both academic and practical instruction, to best prepare students for careers in the legal profession.

To assess achievement of course and program objectives, CNSL has developed various strategies to measure student success. Through direct review of students’ work, CNSL is able to measure individual proficiency and mastery of the course objectives and to gather information on the effectiveness of its program. Through indirect evidence, CNSL is able to measure the student’s self-perceptions of their learning and experience of the program and curriculum.

Law School in Chico, CA

Juris Doctor Program Learning Outcomes Assessment

Cal Northern School of Law has created six Program Learning Outcomes for the Juris Doctor program. In the Spring semester 2017, faculty assessed students in the JD program as they completed the first year curriculum in Torts, Contracts and Criminal Law on three of the six outcomes. Students were assessed on their understanding of substantive law, their ability to think critically, and their ability to communicate effectively through exam writing. Students were given a rating of Beginning, Developing, Proficient, or Highly Proficient.

The table below focuses on three outcomes aligned with completing the first year of the JD program.

Learning Outcome Beginning Developing Proficient Developing to Proficient
Knowledge of Law 22% 56% 22% 78%
Critical Thinking 44% 39% 17% 56%
Communication 39% 39% 22% 61%
Knowledge of Law 22% 56% 22% 78%
Critical Thinking 44% 39% 17% 56%
Communication 39% 39% 22% 61%
CNSL compared student learning in all four years of study. As expected, students at the beginning of their legal studies tend to concentrate at the beginning to developing levels of assessment. As students learn how to study the law and how to think like lawyers, they become more proficient to highly proficient in their abilities to express themselves accordingly.
Year of Study Beginning Developing Proficient Highly Proficient
First Year 43% 35% 28% 0%
Second Year 22% 50% 28% 0%
Third Year 0% 39% 56% 5%
Fourth Year 0% 22% 56% 22%
First Year 43% 35% 28% 0%
Second Year 22% 50% 28% 0%
Third Year 0% 39% 56% 5%
Fourth Year 0% 22% 56% 22%

Master of Legal Studies Program Learning Outcomes Assessment

CNSL has three Program Learning Outcomes for the Master of Legal Studies program. The Assessment Coordinator assess students in the MLS Program on the first of the three outcomes: Demonstrate understanding of fundamental legal principles in the American legal system. Students were assess on their understanding of legal principles in the 1L subjects of Contracts, Criminal Law, and Torts by the administration 15 multiple-choice (MBE) questions (direct assessment). The data show a wide range of correct answers with 2 being the lowest and 9 being the highest. The student scoring only 2 correct answers was late to class and did not finish the assessment.

Disaggregating the 1L and 2L students show that the 2L students are further along in their understanding of fundamental legal principles.

Curriculum Maps

CNSL’s curriculum aligns with program mission and program learning outcomes (PLOs). Curriculum Maps for the JD and the MLS Programs have been developed by the faculty and can be found here:

Faculty determined which PLO was addressed in which courses and at what level (Introduced = I; Developed = D; Mastered = M). From that data, faculty evaluated whether students had a systematic opportunity to achieve success in each PLO.

Student Course Evaluations

2015-2016 Student Courses Evaluations show students expressed 91% satisfaction with their instructor’s overall performance; 63% of the faculty received 100% satisfaction ratings. The data for students surveyed in the 2018/2019 academic year show that 100% of students are generally to very satisfied with their law school education.

Graduate Survey

According to the law school’s Graduate Survey sent to the 2016 and 2017 graduates, all of the 50% who responded reported overall satisfaction with their law school experience; 56% were extremely satisfied and 44% were moderately satisfied.