Essential Performance Standards Policy

Essential Performance Standards

Suffolk University Law School strives to provide a legal education which ensures that its graduates are capable of functioning as competent and ethical practitioners who work professionally with clients, judges, attorneys, and others in the legal community. Candidates for the degree of Juris Doctor, Doctor of Juridical (SJD), and Masters of Law (LLM) must possess certain minimum cognitive abilities and sufficient mental and emotional stability to participate fully in and satisfy the requirements of the Juris Doctor program of study, with or without reasonable accommodation. The technical standards, set forth below, outline the essential abilities and characteristics required for the completion of the J.D. degree. For purposes of this document, the term “candidate” means candidates for admission to the law school as well as enrolled law students who are candidates for graduation. While these standards delineate the necessary abilities of all candidates, they are not intended to deter or exclude candidates for whom reasonable accommodations for a disability will allow successful participation in and completion of the program.

  1. Time Management Skills: A candidate must be able to meet deadlines, keep scheduled appointments, and manage his/her time to satisfactorily complete all assignments and administrative tasks within the allotted timeframe. A candidate must be able to adhere to the law school’s attendance policy and punctually attend classes prepared and ready to participate.
  2. Communication Skills: A candidate must be able to communicate civilly and professionally with others in a candid and respectful manner by all forms of communication, including through electronic means and social media. A candidate must be able to receive constructive feedback in a mature manner. A candidate must be able to understand and respond to oral and written directions and feedback, and must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written forms. A candidate must be able to participate, be called upon with our without advanced warning, and answer questions in a classroom or other instructional setting. A candidate must be able to communicate with members of the law school faculty and administration without the assistance and intervention of third parties. A candidate must also be able to respond to faculty, administration, and staff emails in a timely manner. Communication skills include public speaking, oral communication, reading, and writing, including by means of computer.
  3. Organizational Skills: A candidate must be able to follow directions, make reasonable inferences, and organize and synthesize information. A candidate must be able to organize ideas to communicate either in writing or orally, and must be able to organize large amounts of information.
  4. Behavioral Skills: A candidate must possess the good judgment, honesty, integrity, and interpersonal skills required to work under stressful conditions and to work well with others. A candidate must be able to tolerate and manage competing demands and workloads as mentally and emotionally taxing as are routinely found in the legal profession. A candidate must be able to adapt to changing circumstances, monitor one’s own behavior, conduct oneself in a civil manner, and adhere to all other norms of professional conduct.
  5. Intellectual-Conceptual and Integrative Skills: A candidate must have the ability to set goals, formulate a plan to accomplish those goals, and implement the plan over time. A candidate must be able to understand, synthesize and apply complex information, and must have the ability to integrate and process information promptly and accurately.