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A leave of absence from Law School is rare and can result in significant negative consequences, but occasionally circumstances arise making the choice a sensible path. If you are considering the possibility of a leave, you should contact the Office of Student Life.
As you consider the possibility of a leave, be aware that the Law School's academic regulations require completion of degree requirements within five years from the date of first enrollment. In other words, you are limited in the number of semesters you can be absent and still maintain the ability to re-enroll.
In preparation for discussion, this guide (1) outlines a few general considerations designed to help you approach this decision, (2) describes the process for requesting a leave of absence, and (3) outlines the process for applying to return from a leave.
The advisability of taking a leave will depend in part on whether your reason for considering a leave is volitional or wholly out of your control, and whether the reason is urgent and acute, or chronic and noncritical.
A. Common Reasons for Considering a Leave, and Possible Alternatives
B. Consequences of a Leave
Any leave, regardless of how appropriate or necessary, is likely to accrue some negative consequences, particularly as it relates to your prospects of post-graduate employment. The post-graduate job search tends to follow rigid timelines, and taking off even just one semester can create significant additional challenges to an employment candidacy. The ability to mitigate these consequences is often greater where a leave is wholly out of your control, or where the reason is urgent and acute. Conversely, the consequences are likely more pronounced if there are multiple leaves of absence or if the absences are more volitional in nature.
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