Student Defense — Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law

The Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law is known simply as Catholic Law. The Washington, D.C.-based law school is one of U.S. News & World Report’s top part-time Law programs and ranks near the top 100 of all law programs in America.

Catholic Law students sign up for a rigorous academic experience when they enroll in the Columbus School of Law. The Catholic University of America may present abnormally great pressures—in addition to their studies, students may compete for coveted professional opportunities in our nation's capital.

It's not always possible to toe the ethical and academic line as a law student at The Catholic University of America. If you are accused of any ethical violation, then attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento could help you avoid potential sanctions. Should you fail to defend yourself, your goal of becoming a lawyer could be at risk.

Academic Misconduct at The Catholic University of America

The Catholic University of America imposes certain “standards of honesty which student members of our academic community are expected to follow.”

Section III of Catholic U. of America’s Student Academic Dishonesty Policy lists “Categories of Academic Dishonesty”. These categories are:


Per the Student Academic Dishonesty Policy, plagiarism includes “quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing or utilizing the published work of others without proper acknowledgment…”

Re-submission of your own work

You cannot re-submit work that you have previously turned in for other courses.


Fabrication is “the act of artificially contriving or making up material, data or other information and submitting this as fact.”


Cheating includes copying information from another student's exam, using notes during an exam, using electronic aids during an exam, receiving test information prior to the exam, and any other act that is “contrary to the rules of fairness.”

Facilitating other individuals' cheating

You can also suffer sanctions for helping others in acts of academic dishonesty.

Any other act which The Catholic University of America deems academically dishonest

In addition to these general forms of academic misconduct, the Columbus School of Law may pursue discipline for any other act that it considers dishonest.

Potential Sanctions for Academic Misconduct and Professional Violations

Legal students at Catholic Law aspire to be professionals, and the university holds students to certain standards of professionalism. If you violate any of the Columbus School of Law’s Rules of Professional Conduct, then you may face sanctions similar to those for academic dishonesty.

The Catholic University of America writes that “Sanctions are necessary to demonstrate that the University treats violations of academic honesty seriously and will act aggressively, when necessary, to deter wrongdoing.”

The university may act similarly aggressively towards students' professional missteps. Law students may face particularly high standards of conduct and may face the following consequences for alleged wrongdoing:

  • Expulsion
  • Suspension
  • Probation
  • Formal reprimand
  • Issuance of a failing grade
  • Failure of a course

To varying degrees, such sanctions could:

  • Prevent you from completing your legal studies
  • Prevent you from obtaining a law degree (and from becoming a lawyer)
  • Bar you from the earning power that a law degree may afford
  • Make it more difficult for you to pay back student debt
  • Cause great personal harm

An attorney-advisor will lead your case with a clear goal: To help you avoid these adverse consequences.

The Student Conduct Adjudication Process at the Catholic University of America

The Catholic University of America generally assigns issues of student conduct to the Vice President of Student Affairs. If you are accused of academic or professional misconduct, then you are entitled to either:

  • A conference with an administrator (if possible sanctions against you do not include either suspension or expulsion)
  • A hearing (if you are facing possible suspension or expulsion)

Section IV(C) of the Student Code of Conduct details the Guidelines for Student Conduct Proceedings. These guidelines constitute the due process that you are entitled to as a Catholic Law Student.

When notified of allegations of wrongdoing, you will:

  1. Receive notification of the allegations against you, as well as the date and time of your conference or hearing
  2. Have the right to request a “reasonable extension” of your hearing date
  3. Have the right to review a redacted incident report, but not the notes of university staff or investigators
  4. Provide any additional information, including specific evidence and names of witnesses, that is pertinent to your case

Your attorney-advisor can accompany you to your conference or hearing. They can consult you during the proceedings but may not participate directly in the hearing or conference. Still, their support and consultation will be of great benefit to you.

The outcome of your hearing or conference will be based on the preponderance of evidence.

How Catholic Law Handles Issues of Professional Conduct

If the allegations against you pertain to professional standards, then the Columbus School of Law's Council on Professional Conduct will likely oversee your case.

The Council will facilitate a hearing in a manner similar to a hearing for academic misconduct. You may have a representative present, nominate witnesses to testify on your behalf, and respond to the allegations against you.

The three faculty members and six students that comprise the Council on Professional Conduct will determine both the veracity of the allegation against you and the sanctions that you should face, if any.

Can You Appeal a Ruling Against You?

You may contest a ruling against you if your case fits the grounds for appeal. Permitted reasons for appeal include:

  1. Significant procedural error
  2. The emergence of new evidence in your favor

Your attorney-advisor will determine if there is any other recourse for filing an appeal. Upon successfully filing an appeal, the Vice President of Student Affairs will determine the result of your appeal.

You may be permitted to continue your legal studies while your appeal is pending.

Allow the Lento Law Firm to Lead Your Case

You enrolled in The Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law to graduate. That may still be possible, but you may need an expert defense to avoid expulsion, suspension, or other harmful sanctions.

The charges against you may have crushing consequences. Do not go into the adjudication process blind—let a skilled, experienced attorney-advisor lead your case.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have extensive experience handling law school code of conduct cases. They have handled hundreds of such cases and will go to the mat for you. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. You can also submit your case online using this link.

Contact Us Today!

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.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.