To enter the legal profession, law students must demonstrate their commitment to the integrity and respect that the public expects from lawyers. Standards of professional, academic, and personal behavior are high, and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University expects all its students to meet these standards.
Law students that don't comply with the conduct policies at Cardozo Law may face disciplinary procedures, which could lead to a permanent notation of academic or professional misconduct infraction on their law school record. Such an infraction can not only hinder a law student's progress in their studies but can also prevent admission to the state bar.
If you're a law student facing a misconduct accusation at Cardozo Law, you must be prepared to defend yourself if you don't want to jeopardize your legal career.
The Student Handbook and Academic Misconduct at Cardozo Law
The Cardozo Law Student Handbook contains a policy concerning academic dishonesty and ethical behavior. The rules in place at Cardozo Law reflect the high standards for legal education and professionals set by the American Bar Association and the New York State Court of Appeals. In addition to complying with these sets of policies, the Cardozo Law Student Handbook also puts certain specific rules in place that the faculty and administration consider essential for legal education.
The Student Handbook's Disciplinary Code, Rules, and Procedures set out the possible disciplinary action against students for academic and non-academic misconduct. Non-academic misconduct, although not explicitly related to coursework, may be considered professional misconduct. Both academic and professional misconduct can prevent law graduates from becoming lawyers if the infractions are serious enough.
What Counts as Academic Misconduct at Cardozo Law?
- Obtaining unauthorized information about an exam before its start
- Communication by any means with anyone except the instructor or instructor's designees during an in-school examination
- Conversing with another student about an exam that the student hasn't taken yet
- Using unauthorized materials during an exam
- Using a cell phone during an in-school exam, in or out of the exam room
- Leaving the exam room without permission
- Retaining exam questions after the exam is over
- Going over exam time limits
- Collaborating on a take-home exam without the instructor's permission
- Consulting outside resources on a take-home exam without the instructor's permission
- Plagiarizing: representing someone else's work as one's own or failing to attribute proper sources
- Submitting the same work for more than one academic enterprise without prior permission
Cardozo Law also prohibits forms of non-academic misconduct:
- Misappropriating notes, books, property, or services from other students or the Law School
- Wrongfully depriving members of the Law School community of books, materials, or services otherwise available
- Interfering with or disrupting the Law School's education programs or academic exercises
- Making misrepresentations concerning academic, financial, or employment-related matters
- Treating any member of the Law School community in a disrespectful or offensive way
The Academic Misconduct Process at Cardozo Law
At Cardozo Law, the Academic Standards Committee handles allegations of academic misconduct. Any infraction considered non-academic misconduct is under the Dean's jurisdiction.
The Dean or Vice Dean of Students receive reports of possible academic misconduct and may refer them to the Committee. The Committee will appoint a Factfinder to investigate the claim. After an initial report from the Factfinder, the Committee may decide to dismiss the matter, propose a disposition without a hearing, or proceed to a hearing. If a student accepts the proposed disposition, the matter is final.
The Hearing Panel consists of three faculty members from the Judicial Board. If the academic misconduct concerns a particular instructor's course, that instructor should be on the Panel or serve as Manager. The Manager is the accused student's opposing party at the hearing.
Both the Manager and the accused student can present evidence and question witnesses. Students may have an advisor with them at the hearing, such as an attorney. This advisor can question witnesses but may not testify on the student's behalf.
At any time during the hearing, the Panel can propose a disposition and sanctions to the accused student and the Manager, which may settle the case. If there's no disposition, however, the Panel will deliberate privately. The Panel needs a majority vote to find the student guilty of academic misconduct.
Sanctions for academic misconduct at Cardozo Law include (but are not limited to):
- Disciplinary probation
- Deprivation of course credit
- Downward adjustment of grade
- Reduction or loss of scholarship
If an accused student disagrees with the decision of the Hearing Panel, they may appeal to the Dean. To do so, the student must file a notice of appeal within 10 days of receiving the Panel's decision. The Dean will review the Panel's report, as well as written submissions from both the accused student and the Manager.
The Dean can affirm or reverse the Panel's decision, as well as remand the matter for further proceedings. The Dean may only take such actions if:
- The Panel's findings of fact are erroneous
- The sanctions are an abuse of discretion
If the Dean decides to affirm the decision, they can reduce, but not increase, the sanction. The Dean's decision is final.
Can an Academic Misconduct Attorney Help?
If you're dealing with an academic misconduct charge at Cardozo Law, you could benefit from the assistance of an experienced student defense attorney. Unless you've attended disciplinary hearings before, you may not fully understand how to defend yourself and what kind of evidence is appropriate. An attorney who's represented hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students nationwide will know how to handle your academic misconduct case, and as importantly, will work tirelessly to ensure a fair process and a favorable outcome.
Joseph D. Lento specializes in academic misconduct defense for university and college students at all levels. Moreover, he has helped hundreds of law students protect their academic and professional careers. Law school disciplinary proceedings at Cardozo-Yeshiva and at schools nationwide are a unique animal, characterized by an intense and rigorous process unlike most other academic institutions.
Attorney Lento has been down this road too many times to count, and he can help you craft a defense strategy that's more likely to result in a favorable outcome. As importantly, he will ensure your law school guarantees your rights. If you're a law student who's been accused of academic misconduct, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to protect the future of your legal career.