Order of the Coif Law and Legal Definition

The Order of the Coif is is an honorary scholastic society the purpose of which is to encourage excellence in legal education by promoting and recognizing those who as law students attained a high grade of scholarship, and honoring those who as lawyers, judges and teachers attained high distinction for their scholarly or professional accomplishments.

In England of the medieval period, serjeants-at-law wore, as a required mark of their station, a close-fitting hood covering all but the face. As a consequence of this special headdress, they were known also as serjeants of the coif and their corporate society as the Order of the Coif.

The Order of the Coif was established in the U.S. in 1902. Student eligibility for membership is generally restricted to those in the top 10 per cent of a graduating class who have taken at least 75 per cent of their law studies in graded courses. Individual Chapters may impose additional qualifications. Faculty membership in a Coif school qualifies for election. Election to honorary membership by a Coif Chapter is reserved to those who enjoy high distinction for scholarly attainments.