Louisiana State University Health Science Center School of Dentistry, New Orleans

Dentistry is a noble profession. It's not always an easy one, though. For one thing, your education is never really over. Sure, you'll graduate in four years, but you'll still be expected to keep up with every new technology and technique. You'll also be expected to work long hours, especially starting out. And the expectations won't end at the door to your office. Your community will expect you to be a leader, and they'll likely hold you accountable for any personal failings.

It's the job of a dental school to prepare you for the rigors of this life. That's why schools hold students to the highest standards, not just academically but professionally, ethically, and personally. In fact, you might as well know it now: there's something magical about living and going to school in New Orleans—where the LSU School of Dentistry is based—but if you think you'll have time to party on Beale Street during Mardi Gras, you're in for a shock.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with high standards. High standards produce great dentists. They produce great people. No one's perfect, though. If you should find yourself in trouble as a dental student—academically or otherwise—you may be facing remediation, probation, or even dismissal. You don't have to accept those outcomes, though. With the right help, you can stand up for yourself and hold on to your future.

Academic Standards at LSU School of Dentistry

As you might expect, success at LSU School of Dentistry starts with academics. The school expects you to excel as a student, and it has measures in place to make sure you do.

The school has four academic performance advancement committees, one for each of its four programs. These committees meet at the end of every term to review your grades and consider whether you're meeting the school's minimum technical standards. You're expected to both pass every course and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA.

If you're struggling in a particular course, these committees have the authority to assign you a remediation plan or to require you to repeat that course. If you're having trouble in multiple courses, the committee can also recommend dismissal from the program.

If you should find yourself in academic distress, you have two options. The first is to appeal a course grade. You can start this process by talking with the course instructor. If this doesn't resolve the issue, you are encouraged to meet with the department head. Failing this, you can appeal your situation to the Dean, who will impanel an ad hoc committee to review the matter.

You can also appeal a student advancement committee's ruling directly, again to the Dean. However, in this case, there's no review committee. Instead, the Dean asks the advancement committee to reconsider their original ruling. In other words, the same individuals who made the first decision also decide the appeal.

With either kind of appeal, then, you're facing an uphill battle. That's just one reason why you might need the help of a qualified attorney.

Maintaining Professional Standards

In most cases, LSUSD will work with you if you're experiencing academic problems. Often you can get back on track just by fulfilling a remediation plan. Professional and disciplinary infractions are another matter altogether. An ethical lapse in judgment—even in your personal life—can be grounds for immediate dismissal.

As the Student Handbook notes, most misconduct is dealt with through the school's Student Affairs Committee. If you're accused of an infraction, you are entitled to a hearing as well as several other due process rights, such as the right to refuse to answer questions, the right to submit evidence, and the right to cross-examine witnesses against you. Perhaps most importantly, you have the right to an advisor, and this advisor can be an attorney. In fact, an attorney can be invaluable for helping you navigate the process and ensuring you get a fair hearing.

How Can an Attorney Help You?

At this point, you should already have a good sense of why you might need an attorney during dental school. Judicial procedures aren't simple, and it isn't always easy to get justice. You don't have to be facing a serious allegation, though, to make good use of an attorney. In fact, an attorney who's familiar with how dental schools operate can help in a variety of ways, both large and small.

  • Evaluating remediation plans: Remediation offers you a second chance to learn what you may have missed in a course. In fact, it's saved many a dentist's career. That said, remediation isn't free. It may cost you money, and it will certainly cost you time. Sometimes, there are better options, like appealing your original grade. Before you sign on to a remediation plan, then, it's useful to consult an attorney to find out if there are other possible solutions.
  • Cleaning up your transcript: Remediation plans, probation, and even minor sanctions like warnings can hurt your career if they show up on your transcript. A sanction can cost you financial aid. It can hurt your residency prospects. It might even keep you from getting a good first job. An attorney can offer suggestions for keeping sanctions out of your file. In fact, they may even be able to get past negative comments removed.
  • Avoiding dismissal: If you're facing dismissal, you have nothing to lose by fighting. Expulsion usually means your dental career is over. Most schools won't consider your application if you've already been dismissed from another program. Very quickly, you could find yourself paying for student loans on an education you never actually got. An attorney can help you craft a defense strategy, give you advice on collecting evidence, even coach you in presenting your case.

How Can Joseph D. Lento Help?

An attorney can be an invaluable resource during dental school, but you don't want just any attorney. You want someone who is familiar with dental school curricula and procedures. You want someone who knows the law as it applies to higher education. You want someone who can actually talk to faculty and administrators.

Simply put, you want Joseph D. Lento.

Joseph D. Lento is a fully-licensed, fully-qualified defense attorney who specializes in defending students in campus judicial cases. Over the years, Joseph D. Lento has represented hundreds of students in matters both large and small. He knows the law, and he's a passionate defender of student rights.

If you're facing a sanction from your dental school, trust your case to someone who knows dental schools. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.