Eligibility for the Order of the Coif
Election to The Order of the Coif is based upon a student's final grade point average at graduation, with no more than 10% of the graduating class being elected. However, the Coif Constitution requires that students must have at least 75% of their work in graded courses to be eligible.
- Our Chapter has interpreted this to mean that a student must have at least 68 graded credits. (68 is 75% of 90 credits.) Any student who earns more than 90 credits still needs only 68 graded credits.
- A graded credit is one earned in a Law course graded on the Law School's 4.3 grading scale (A+ to F). Grades assigned under the University's 4.0 scale are not counted toward eligibility.
- Transfer students may be eligible for election, so long as (a) they have completed the equivalent of four semesters of work at the University of Wisconsin Law School; and (b) they have 68 graded credits. Credits earned from courses taken for a grade at another law school will be treated as "graded credits" for purposes of the "68 graded credit" requirement; however, those courses will not count in the calculation of the student's final grade point average. Thus, to be eligible for the Wisconsin Chapter of The Order of the Coif, it is the student's Wisconsin Law grade point average (calculated under the rules set forth in Rule 2.01) that matters, even for students who earn "graded credits" elsewhere.
In addition, our Chapter has voted to limit membership in the Wisconsin Chapter of The Order of the Coif to students who both have a 3.5 GPA and are in the top 15% of the class.
In some circumstances, factors other than the computed academic average might be taken into account in making a selection. For example, in choosing between students whose numerical averages are extremely close, the student with more credits in graded courses might be selected, even if that student's average was slightly lower.
* Prior to June 2012, the Law School interpreted the rules for transfer-student eligibility as follows: "In order to be eligible, 75% of the students work at the University of Wisconsin Law School must be graded. This means that a transfer student must have 45 Wisconsin graded credits in order to be eligible." In June 2012, the National Secretary of The Order of the Coif informed the Law School that the Law School's eligibility requirement of 68 graded credits must be the same for all students, including transfer students. Then, in November 2013, in response to a vote by all of the chapters of The Order of the Coif, the National Executive Committee effectively changed the interpretation of the rules again, this time so that a course can count as "graded" if, at the time the course was taken, the student received a grade. In effect, then, transfer students graduating before June 2012 needed 45 graded credits from Wisconsin Law to be eligible; transfer students graduating between June 2012 and November 2013 needed 68 graded credits from Wisconsin Law to be eligible; and transfer students graduating after November 2013 need 68 graded credits, but the "graded credits" may include those credits earned in graded courses at another law school.