Boston University School of Law prepares its students to become lawyers in every aspect of their education. It fosters an environment of intellectual pursuit based on mutual respect, honesty, and integrity. During their time in law school, students must show their fitness to practice law. Any academic or professional conduct violations do not demonstrate the good moral character needed to be a lawyer.
Both Boston University and its School of Law take academic conduct seriously and expect students to do so too. When law students don't uphold the university's values of honesty and integrity, they may face an allegation of academic misconduct and have to go through formal disciplinary procedures as a result. As a law student, an academic or misconduct violation on your record casts doubt on your ability to be a lawyer and may indeed prevent you from practicing law.
When BU Law accuses you of academic misconduct, you must be ready to challenge the accusation if you want to protect your future legal career.
Law Student Misconduct at Boston University
Law students at BU must comply with policies contained in the Disciplinary Regulations Governing All Students in the School of Law. Each degree program at BU Law also has its own set of Academic Regulations that students must follow as well. The relevant section of the Academic Regulations concerning misconduct regards examination rules—Article VII, Section 5.
Law students must also adhere to the Boston University Code of Student Responsibilities, but in matters of academic conduct, the School of Law's policy takes precedence. Also, if a student's misconduct is subject to the rules and regulations of the university, the School of Law generally will not bring a separate action against the law student for the same offense.
Examples of Academic Misconduct at BU Law
BU Law's Disciplinary Regulations provide examples of academic and professional conduct that is not allowed at the School of Law:
- Disruption of School of Law activities or operations
- Not following classroom rules set by instructors
- Willful damage to Law Library materials
- Multiple submission of written work without prior permission
- Not following exam rules
- Sale or purchase of class notes
- Recording devices in the classroom without instructor permission
- Not following rules of the Career Development Office
Professional Misconduct at BU Law
The Disciplinary Regulations also cover professional conduct, and some examples include:
- Failure to comply with Boston University rules concerning student conduct
- Violations of public law
- Making false statements in documents or records related to the study or practice of law
- Any illegal conduct involving moral turpitude
- Dishonest, fraudulent, or deceitful conduct
- Conduct that violates standards of professional ethics established for lawyers
These lists of academic and professional misconduct at BU Law are not exhaustive, merely examples of the kind of behavior that would constitute a violation and be subject to disciplinary action.
How BU Law Handles Academic Misconduct
Complaints of law student misconduct at BU Law go through three phases of disciplinary procedures, starting with an investigation by the Dean.
Notice of Complaint
If there is a complaint of misconduct against you, it will go to the Dean. The Dean conducts a preliminary investigation and decides to dismiss the charge or move forward. If the Dean moves forward, they will contact you and invite you to a meeting to discuss the misconduct complaint.
Meeting with the Dean
You may bring an advisor to your meeting with the Dean under certain conditions:
- The advisor can confer with you but not speak directly to the Dean
- You must inform the Dean as soon as possible that you intend to bring an advisor
- You must inform the Deas as soon as possible the identity of your advisor
After discussing the matter with you, the Dean may decide the accusation warrants no action and dismiss it. You and the Dean may also agree to a Stipulation, which states that you are guilty and you accept sanctions. If you don't agree to a Stipulation, the matter will go before Judicial Committee for a hearing.
Judicial Committee Hearing
At the Judicial Committee hearing, both you and the Dean may have counsel present, and you both may call witnesses and present evidence. You both also have the right to cross-examine witnesses, as does the Judicial Committee. At the end of the hearing, the Judicial Committee confers privately and makes a decision by majority vote. If the Committee decides you are guilty of violating academic conduct rules, they can choose a sanction as well.
Sanctions for Academic Misconduct at BU Law
The Judicial Committee may issue any one of the following sanctions to students they find guilty of violating academic policies:
- Stay of sanction (in connection with an appeal to the Disciplinary Review Panel)
The Committee isn't limited to the above list. They can also impose other sanctions or conditions deemed appropriate.
Appealing an Academic Misconduct Determination at BU Law
If you don't agree with the decision of the Judicial Committee, you can submit a request for review to the Disciplinary Review Panel within 10 days of the Judicial Committee's decision. You must follow up your request with a written statement within 30 days, outlining your grounds for appealing. The Review Panel will deliberate in private and will affirm the Committee's decision unless they find the decision erroneous or unfair.
Consulting a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor
As a law student, you likely have had no experience dealing with academic misconduct procedures. BU Law, on the other hand, assuredly has significant experience dealing with student misconduct. You're at a disadvantage when you've been accused of academic or professional misconduct at BU Law. You need a specialized student defense attorney-advisor to tip the scales in your favor.
Law school disciplinary proceedings are a unique animal, characterized by intense and rigorous proceedings compared to other academic institutions. You do not want to face such proceedings alone because too much is at stake, and the Lento Law Firm can help.
An attorney-advisor can help you craft a defense strategy and ensure your institution maintains your rights. Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of law students and graduate and undergraduate students defend themselves from academic misconduct allegations from their colleges or universities. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your options.