In compliance with ABA Standard 509, the following information about Cumberland School of Law and its JD program is provided to current and prospective students. The Standard 509 Information Report is compiled from the latest information submitted in the annual ABA questionnaire.

About Cumberland School of Law

Cumberland School of Law, established in 1847 as a part of Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee, is one of the oldest law schools in the country. The law school was acquired by Samford University in 1961. Today, Samford University is the largest privately supported and fully accredited institution of higher learning in Alabama. Samford’s beautiful 318-acre campus is located in a suburban area of Birmingham, the state’s largest industrial, business and cultural center. Cumberland School of Law has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) since 1952 and has been accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) since 1949.

Cumberland School of Law is approved by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654, 312-988-6738.

Transfer Credit Details

After a transfer student is admitted, the associate dean for Academic Affairs determines the number of law school credit hours that will transfer. A maximum of 40 hours of previous coursework may transfer. In most instances all credit hours earned in regular first-year law courses at an ABA-approved law school with a grade of “C” or better will transfer. Transfer credit will not be awarded for coursework graded on a pass/fail or similar basis, or in which a student received a grade lower than a “C” or its equivalent. Transfer students are not assigned a class ranking until two semesters of study at Cumberland School of Law have been completed.

Employment Data

 Please reference the three years of employment outcome data posted on the ABA Required Disclosures webpage of each ABA-Approved Law School or at

American Bar Association (ABA)

ABA Website


The law school seeks a diverse student body that will make a contribution to the law school and the legal profession. To that end, every applicant’s file is thoroughly reviewed for admission. In addition to the LSAT and GPA, difficulty of major, personal challenges overcome, graduate work completed, scholarly achievements and volunteer and work experience are also considered. Applications are evaluated on a rolling basis, so it is important to apply early.

Fall 2023 Entering Class Profile

Median LSAT: 155
75th percentile LSAT: 157
25th percentile LSAT: 152

Median GPA: 3.61
75th percentile GPA: 3.79
25th percentile GPA: 3.33

Total students: 156
Female: 58%
Male: 42%
Underrepresented Racial Groups: 25%
Undergraduate colleges/universities: 61

In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Conditional Scholarship Data

Fall 2021

157 entered with conditional scholarships; 33 conditional scholarships were eliminated

Fall 2020

149 entered with conditional scholarships; 0 conditional scholarships were eliminated

Fall 2019

156 entered with conditional scholarships; 0 conditional scholarships were eliminated

Cumberland School of Law’s scholarship retention policy was first implemented with the fall 2011 entering class. Conditional scholarships are suspended for those recipients who are not in good scholarship standing. Good scholarship standing requires recipients to maintain a cumulative law school GPA of 2.6 or higher at the conclusion of each spring semester. Scholarships will be considered for reinstatement for a subsequent academic year where a recipient restores his or her GPA to be within the academic requirement.

Generous merit-based scholarship assistance is awarded to Cumberland School of Law’s entering and current law students annually. In addition, numerous other scholarships are provided to those students who distinguish themselves academically, make outstanding contributions through leadership in the law school, or demonstrate financial need.

Tuition and Student Budget

Cumberland School of Law's student budget chart, including all tuition and fees, may be found here.

Cumberland School of Law Student Budget

For a detailed Flex-Time budget, contact Samford University's Office of Financial Aid.

Tuition costs are subject to change.  Costs associated with one term only of the academic year subject to change.

The cost of attendance, the total estimated amount it will cost a student to complete one year of law school, is determined using rules established by the U.S. Congress. Contact the Samford University Office of Financial Aid if you have any unusual expenses that might affect your cost of attendance.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form

Refund Policy

The refund policy is set by Samford University. It can be found at the Financial Services Website.

All seat deposits paid during the admission process are nonrefundable. If a student enrolls, all seat deposits will be credited toward the fall tuition of the entering admission year.

Joint Degree Programs

The typical joint degree program permits the student to apply 12 hours in the other program toward the J.D. requirements, these grades are not transferred to the student’s law school transcript. Similarly, a student may apply six to nine hours (depending on the program) of law school credit toward the other graduate degree.

Courses taken prior to matriculation in the law school’s J.D. program may not be counted toward the J.D. degree requirements. A student participating in a joint degree program will not be permitted to count the credit hours for courses taken in the other degree program toward the J.D. requirements until the other degree is awarded following completion of all applicable requirements.

Joint Degrees Offered

  • J.D./M.B.A.
  • J.D./M.Acc.
  • J.D./M.S.E.M.
  • J.D./M.Div.
  • J.D./M.T.S.
  • J.D./M.P.H.
  • J.D./M.P.A.
  • J.D./LL.M.

Student Learning Outcomes and Performance Criteria

The law faculty has established the following student learning outcomes and performance criteria for Cumberland’s Juris Doctor (J.D.) program of legal education. Upon successful completion of a J.D., Cumberland’s graduates will demonstrate the following skills, knowledge, and values at the level needed for effective and ethical participation in the legal profession.

Learning Outcome 1: Graduates will demonstrate competent knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law.

Graduates will demonstrate competent knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law by

  1. Identifying and applying foundational concepts of business organizations; civil procedure; constitutional law; contracts; commercial law; criminal law; evidence; property; professional responsibilities; torts; and wills, trusts, and estates.
  2. Identifying and applying legal doctrine and theory in other areas of law not otherwise required by the law school curriculum so that graduates can productively apply the law in practice.

Learning Outcome 2: Graduates will be able to engage in legal analysis and reasoning to resolve legal problems.

Graduates will demonstrate competency in legal analysis and reasoning skills by

  1. Critically reading applicable authorities, identifying key rules within each authority, and synthesizing multiple authorities into a cohesive rule.
  2. Applying rules to relevant facts to support a clear conclusion, by analogizing and distinguishing cases and by analyzing all sides of an issue.
  3. Using legal, policy, and practical considerations to determine and explain how case-based or hypothetical fact scenarios will likely be resolved.

Learning Outcome 3: Graduates will be able to undertake effective legal research.

Graduates will demonstrate competency in legal research skills by

  1. Identifying relevant legal issues raised by clients’ legal problems.
  2. Identifying and effectively employing legal research tools.
  3. Distinguishing binding authorities from persuasive ones and appropriately assessing their weight.

Learning Outcome 4: Graduates will be able to communicate effectively in the legal context in both written and oral forms.

Graduates will demonstrate competency in written and oral communication by

  1. Writing documents that are clear, concise, well-reasoned, organized, professional in tone, appropriate to the audience and the circumstances, and if appropriate, contain proper citation to authority.
  2. Speaking in a clear, concise, well-organized, and professional manner that is appropriate to the audience and the circumstances.
  3. Actively listening to clients, colleagues, judges, and others.

Learning Outcome 5: Graduates will be able to advise clients appropriately, with a focus on problem solving.

Graduates will demonstrate competency in advising clients appropriately by

  1. Identifying a client’s legal and practical problems, including non-legal interests and effects on other people, through attentive listening.
  2. Determining the steps necessary to obtain and investigate facts relevant to their client’s case.
  3. Selecting and using legal research tools, strategies, and methods to identify legal authority that is relevant to actual or hypothetical fact scenarios.
  4. Using basic professional skills employed by lawyers, in actual or hypothetical fact scenarios, such as interviewing, counseling, analyzing data, negotiating, or drafting formal or technical legal documents, legislation, or policy positions.
  5. Advocating persuasively to achieve a client’s objectives or otherwise solve a problem in a legal context or advance a legal position in actual or hypothetical fact scenarios.
  6. Generating alternative solutions and strategies to solve clients’ problems within legal and ethical boundaries.
  7. Informing and counseling clients about the legal and non-legal ramifications of a decision.

Learning Outcome 6: Graduates will be able to exercise proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system.

Graduates will demonstrate competency in fundamental skills in exercising their professional and ethical responsibilities by

  1. Demonstrating knowledge of the rules and canons that govern lawyers.
  2. Using and applying the laws governing lawyers to recognize ethical and other professional dilemmas.
  3. Exercising professional judgment through conduct consistent with the legal profession’s values and standards, including exhibiting civility and treating others with respect.

Learning Outcome 7: Graduates will demonstrate competency in other professional skills and values needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession.

Graduates will demonstrate competency in other professional skills and values by

  1. Conducting themselves in a professional manner.
  2. Collaborating with others in legal settings.
  3. Recognizing practical considerations, such as costs and effects on other people, of a chosen legal resolution and considering alternative dispute resolutions when appropriate.
  4. Participating in opportunities to increase their professional knowledge and skills.
  5. Exhibiting self-directed learning skills that will allow them to understand areas of the law and legal practice with which they were previously unfamiliar.
  6. Identifying ways to meet clients’ goals and interests while adhering to the basic economics of law practice.