Law School – Temple University

For any student, getting into law school is a significant fete. It requires keeping your grades up in undergrad, participating in extracurricular activities, performing well on the LSATs, and then expressing these achievements on a graduate school application. As such, law school students are highly competitive, and law schools nurture this personality type. The idea is that highly competitive law students will make highly competitive lawyers who advocate well on behalf of their clients. For this reason, the American Bar Association holds law schools to higher ethical, professional, and educational standards. Temple University Beasley School of Law is no different and is dedicated to providing an educational atmosphere free of academic dishonesty.

Code of Conduct

At Temple University Beasley School of law, students receive a copy of the Code of Conduct, which they must follow. This Code outlines ways the students might violate it, including any instance of academic misconduct, which might involve:

  • Giving or getting information about an exam without the professor's permission;
  • Using or copying from books, papers, or notes during an exam, project, or paper without the professor's permission;
  • Fabricating data or citations;
  • Not following time limitations;
  • Plagiarizing or using unauthorized materials on work submitted to the school or extracurricular activity;
  • Submitting work that was performed in an employment setting without approval;
  • Failing to report violations of the Code of conduct; or
  • Giving out recordings of courses to students not enrolled in the university.

Academic Misconduct Disciplinary Procedure

Temple University expects instructors, supervisors, other members of faculty, and students to make the Law School Counsel aware of any violations of the Code of Conduct. Once they are aware, they will conduct an initial investigation into the accusations. In addition, they will notify the student of this investigation, and the student has no less than five days to respond. The Law School Counsel will decide if there is probable cause to charge the student with a Code violation and what to charge the student with. Neither of these determinations is reviewable.

The Law School Counsel will immediately notify the student if they decide not to charge them, but Counsel will have the option to reopen the investigation if new evidence is discovered after this initial decision. If Counsel decides to charge the student, they will notify the student and the Law School Discipline Committee.

The Counsel will work to get the student to admit to the violation. If a student admits to the incident, Counsel will work with the student to agree on a sanction for the violation. This agreement is then sent to the Committee. From there, the Committee has ten days to decide if this agreement is an acceptable form of punishment for the offense. And if they decide it is not an appropriate punishment, the violation will be presented before the Hearing Judge. It is important to note that Temple University does allow the student to file for a continuance to find appropriate representation.

At the hearing, both the Law School Counsel and the student have the right to present evidence and witness testimony relevant to the incident. In addition, they can challenge the Hearing Judge or any Committee member for cause if they feel there is a personal bias or conflict of interest at play.

When the hearing concludes, the Committee will deliberate on whether a violation has occurred. If they decide no violation occurred, they will dismiss the charges with prejudice, and there won't be a record of the charge or the proceeding. But, if they decide that a violation has occurred, they will hold a second hearing to determine an appropriate penalty for the student. These penalties may include:

  • A warning;
  • A reprimand;
  • A note on the student's transcript of the violation;
  • Probation;
  • Exclusion from law school activities;
  • Suspension;
  • Revoking the student's degree; or
  • Expulsion from the university.

The Committee also has the authority to notify the Dean to assign the student a failing grade in the course involved in the violation.

Appeals Process

Any decision made by the Committee can be appealed within seven business days. The student must submit the Petition for Review to the Chairperson of the Review Panel. The Petition needs to include the grounds for the review and specific support for those grounds. These grounds include:

  • New evidence is available;
  • There was insufficient evidence to support the Committee's determination;
  • The sanction imposed was excessive; and
  • Procedural errors occurred that require a new hearing.

The Review Panel Chairperson will schedule a meeting on the Petition and review the video record of the hearings and all of the Committee's written findings and reports. If the student is bringing new evidence, the Review Panel will review that new evidence as well. From there, the Review Panel will determine if the student is entitled to a new hearing, whether the sanctions imposed should be altered, or if the sanctions and charges should be dropped altogether.

Consequences of Academic Misconduct

The consequences of being accused of academic misconduct are far-reaching and long-lasting. For instance, students accused but found not to have violated the Code of Conduct will have their reputations distorted. Future professors will hear about the issue and wonder if the student is cheating in their course. Additionally, students will begin to wonder who falsely accused them of cheating – making it difficult to trust their law school colleagues and have an enjoyable experience during their time there.

For students found to have violated the Code of conduct, this adjudication is placed on their transcripts and will need to be explained in every job interview to come. Additionally, the student will have to report the incident on their character and fitness test, making it difficult to gain entry to their state's bar. Further, in the case of an expelled student, they will have an exceedingly tricky time gaining entry into any other law school to finish out their education.

How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help

An attorney-advisor has years of experience working with students accused of academic misconduct while law school. They are lawyers themselves and understand the rigorous requirements of law school and the impact these types of accusations can have on a law student's future. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm work tirelessly on behalf of their student clients to ensure that the university is upholding due process. Unfortunately, many schools do not adequately vet accusations and let innocent students fall through the gaps. Attorney Lento is passionate about keeping law schools accountable. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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