Student Defense: Mitchell Hamline School of Law

The Mitchell Hamline School of Law resulted from a merger between the William Mitchell College of Law and the Hamline University School of Law. With its unique and robust certification program and specialized courses, Mitchell Hamline prepares law students for the challenges of their future profession by exposing them to real-world scenarios. The university fortifies its strong reputation by enforcing general expectations regarding student conduct and academic integrity. Those who do not abide by these rules may face sanctions that lead to graduation delays or permanent dismissal.

Although law schools must raise the bar for student conduct expectations, there is always a chance that mistakes happen or poor decisions are made. Some professors or administrators may erroneously penalize a student, or they may have bias. In other cases, procedural errors or unsubstantiated claims may ruin a law student's future. In cases like these, law students need the help of a professional attorney-advisor who understands the administrative process and works in their best interests.

Academic Misconduct at Mitchell Hamline School of Law

The student code of conduct at Mitchell Hamline outlines general expectations of academic, professional, and social conduct. Academic misconduct is high on the list of prohibited actions. All students must act in a manner befitting of their future profession and demonstrate ethical behavior. The guidelines within the student catalog list several activities that constitute academic misconduct, including:

  • Cheating: This violation includes any student action to gain an unfair academic advantage over peers. Examples of cheating include copying another student's answers during a test or intellectual exercise, using prohibited devices such as phones during an exam, or allowing another student to cheat from one's work.
  • Plagiarism: Students must always cite their sources and give credit to original authors for their work. Students who try to pass off another person's work, ideas, or theories as their own are engaging in plagiarism. The student code mentions that a plagiarism violation has a separate disciplinary process from other academic misconduct violations. The resolution process happens between the student and the professor.
  • Violating Instructions: Law students must follow all guidelines and instructions established by their professors. For example, suppose students collaborate on an academic exercise without the approval of their professor. In that case, that violation may lead to penalties.
  • Falsification: Falsifying data or information is a severe infraction that may lead to dismissal. Examples of falsification include providing false documents to administrators or using fake information in an academic exercise.
  • Misrepresentation: If a law student deliberately misrepresents academic and personal achievements, this violates Mitchell Hamline's standards and may lead to sanctions.
  • General Misconduct: Any action that raises suspicions about the student's integrity that involves academic misconduct may lead to sanctions. These cases are a gray area where it may be difficult to prove innocence without the help of an advisor.

The guidelines discourage actions against ethical principles and prepare students for the rigid standards they must adhere to when they become lawyers.

How Mitchell Hamline School of Law Addresses Academic Misconduct

Upon suspicion of academic misconduct, any person at Mitchell Hamline can send a written complaint to the Dean. The Dean may take two routes; either move forward with an investigation or dismiss the claim. The Dean may also place a student under temporary suspension as the inquiry takes place.

The Investigation

In the event of an investigation, the student must be present to submit documents and supporting evidence to counter the allegations. After 14 days, the investigator sends the Dean a report of the claim and reports their findings. The student has the option to respond to the investigator's conclusions within seven days. The Dean then decides on sanctions based on the inquiry's findings and informs the student within 14 days.

Appeals

Law students have the option to appeal the Dean's decision after the initial investigation. Students wishing to appeal must send a written letter within ten days of receiving the Dean's decision. The Dean will forward the appeal to the Chairperson of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee. If the request warrants a review, the student must attend an appeal hearing with the university's Code Committee members. Students may present any evidence or supporting information that they believe may help them reduce sanction severity. The Code Committee makes a final decision regarding the case. During the appeal hearing, a student may have a respondent present.

Possible Sanctions for Academic Misconduct

Depending on the severity of the violations, sanctions at Mitchell Hamline School of Law range from a grade reduction to permanent dismissal from campus grounds. These sanctions have disastrous effects on a student's educational and career path, especially if the university notifies the bar of the student's actions. According to the Code of Conduct, these are the possible sanctions for one or more violations of the code:

  • Grade reduction
  • Dismissal from a class
  • Loss of funding and sponsorship from Mitchell Hamline
  • Letter of reprimand
  • Bar notification
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Bar notification for egregious violations

Without the help of an experienced attorney advisor, law students could lose years of time and effort due to an honest mistake or a lapse in judgment. Moreover, an academic integrity or dishonest issue in law school can also make it difficult, if not impossible, to pass the character and fitness portion of state bars. Too much is at stake to leave anything to chance.

Hiring an Attorney-Advisor

Law students work tirelessly to become the legal professionals of the future. However, they are still students, and most importantly – humans. Whether intentional or unknowingly, making a mistake should not end a student's career before it begins.

Attorney Advisor Joseph D. Lento understands what students and their families are going through, especially when facing sanctions and possible suspension or expulsion. A notation of suspension or expulsion on their transcript prevents students from finding a good program if they can enroll elsewhere which can be next to impossible. With years of experience helping law students across the United States with academic misconduct issues, Attorney Lento works hard to ensure that students receive a fair process and the best possible outcome.

Don't let administrative bias, procedural errors, or a lack of evidence ruin your chances of becoming a lawyer. Call Lento Law Firm today for a no-nonsense consultation at 888-535-3686.

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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.

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