Established in 1901, Brooklyn Law School (BLS) provides high-caliber educational programs for students wishing to become lawyers. The BLS law program allows students to engage with talented legal professionals from the five boroughs and helps them build a solid foundation for their careers. Competitive and prestigious, BLS is challenging to get into and is among the top-ranked law schools in the nation.
Due to its strong reputation and historical significance in the community, BLS does not tolerate academic misconduct. Students must maintain academic professionalism and refrain from committing actions to gain an unfair advantage over their peers. Students caught engaging in academic misconduct face consequences that, if not resolved swiftly, may impact their future career as legal professionals.
Academic Misconduct at Brooklyn Law School
Students at Brooklyn Law School must abide by the Code of Academic Responsibility, a code likened to the Code of Professional Responsibility that governs lawyers.
According to BLS, academic misconduct includes:
- Obtaining information about an upcoming exam in an unauthorized manner
- Distributing questions or collaborating with others regarding tests or quizzes
- Copying another student's answers/allowing another student to copy answers from one's exam
- Forging documents, licenses, grades, and other similar materials
- Disclosing confidential information to third-parties
- Submitting previous work as current
- Accessing, distributing, copying, and tampering with unauthorized material from BLS Library
- Collaborating with others to cheat
In addition to the violations above, BLS also reserves the right to label other infarctions as forms of academic misconduct even if they are not defined. If the breach involves dishonesty or fraud, students face repercussions that can delay their graduation date.
Consequences for Student Violations
Brooklyn Law School has a low tolerance for academic misconduct. To maintain academic integrity and maintain its stellar reputation, the school has a rigid process to handle these allegations. The Vice Dean of Academic Affairs or a designee chosen by the Vice Dean investigates all allegations. It reviews the specifics of the incident to determine the next steps. If the incident warrants a hearing, the student faces sanctions that can have a long-term impact on their future. Sanctions include:
- Written reprimand
- Probation (up to one semester)
- Interim dismissal from campus during proceedings
- Permanent dismissal
- Charges placed on the student's permanent record and reported on all bar admissions applications
In addition to these sanctions, the hearing committee can choose to impose additional penalties that they deem appropriate. Moreover, these sanctions do not include the consequences that individual professors may add, which differ from those of the hearing. These penalties include deducting grades, failing a test, or repeating the course.
The Hearing Process
Academic misconduct violations undergo a hearing process wherein a committee reviews the evidence to determine if the student is at fault. Students receive notice of the charge either through in-person delivery or mail. The note contains information about the alleged infarction, the date and time of the hearing, and a statement of the student's rights during proceedings.
If the academic misconduct case involves multiple students, administrators have the right to decide whether a joint hearing can occur.
During the hearing, the parties involved cannot cross-examine one another. However, they can ask witnesses to attend the event and help them bolster their statements. The Assistant Dean for Student Affairs chooses the members of the panel, who include:
- Two faculty members
- Two students
- Chair member
The students chosen as part of the hearing panel receive training before their involvement. Before the hearing date, mediation is possible if the participants agree to resolve the issue.
During the hearing, the panel asks participants questions, cross-examines them and their witnesses, and reviews the evidence. Once the hearing concludes, the members deliberate and present their recommendations. If panel members cannot reach an agreement regarding proper sanctions, the Chair makes a final decision.
Appealing Hearing Sanctions
Students have the right to appeal sanctions, but not just because they disagree with the panel's decision. The rigid nature of the school's appeals process, in theory, deters students from committing academic misconduct. However, some allegations are false, and innocent students pay the price of a bogus accusation.
Those who wish to appeal have ten business days to do so in writing after receiving the panel's Notice of Discipline. Appeals must fit one of the following criteria for consideration by the Dean:
- The student believes that a procedural error took place during the hearing
- The emergence of new evidence that supports the student's statements
- The student believes that the sanctions imposed are disproportionate to the alleged misconduct charge
If the new evidence or appeal merits a review, the Dean goes over the hearing record and the panel's decision. The Dean then decides in light of the three criteria whether the sanctions are appropriate or to reduce them and informs the student and the other party in writing within 15 days. The Dean's decision is final, and no further appeals are possible.
Contact the Lento Law Firm
Law school is a challenging yet exciting time for any student. It is an important stepping stone in their path to becoming lawyers. However, an academic misconduct charge can undo years of hard work. Moreover, law students have a reputation to maintain as future attorneys, and an academic misconduct charge can cause issues down the line.
Delayed graduation is not the only issue that students may face. Later on, students may find difficulty finding firms that accept them for employment later on, in favor of candidates with spotless records.
Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento understands the concerns that students and their families have when facing an academic misconduct charge at Brooklyn Law School. With unparalleled experience helping law students navigate the complex hearing process, attorney-advisor Lento knows what's at stake and works hard to decrease the impact of sanctions on students' futures.
Don't let a mistake or misunderstanding lead to sanctions that can delay your graduation prospects and harm your future as a lawyer. Call the Lento Law Firm today for an expert and discreet consultation involving your case at 888-535-3686.