Student Defense: Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Hamline University has the notable distinction of being Minnesota's first university. The School of Law is a private school affiliated with Hamline, which first opened its doors to students in 1972. It merged with the William Mitchell College of law to form the Mitchell-Hamline School of Law. The school offers full and part-time Juris Doctor degrees, the LLM degree, and multiple dual-degree options.

Law Students attending Mitchell-Hamline must demonstrate principles of integrity that are a significant part of their careers as future attorneys. The law school takes infarctions seriously and imposes severe punishments if violations occur. Without the help of an attorney-advisor, accused students face sanctions that cause graduation delays, suspension, or permanent discharge.

Student Conduct at Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Students accused of academic misconduct face numerous issues if someone files a report against them. According to the code of student conduct at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, students must refrain from engaging in actions against their integrity. The school goes the extra mile by indicating that its code of conduct directly models the professional conduct expectations of the Minnesota Board of Law Examiners.

Academic misconduct falls under the umbrella of prohibited actions. The school of law gives multiple examples of what constitutes a violation, including:

  • Cheating on an exam or an academic assignment
  • Plagiarism by intentionally omitting an original creator or author
  • Willfully violating a professor's instructions
  • Engaging in the intentional falsification of documents
  • Duplicating assignments for numerous uses, such as submitting them to multiple professors
  • Engaging in any misconduct that gives a law student an academic advantage over peers

The above actions are examples of violations, but it is not an exhaustive list. The school of law reserves the right to penalize students and impose sanctions for any actions that it considers violations of the code's principles.

Adjudication Process at Mitchell Hamline School of Law

The student code encourages anyone who witnesses a violation to report the incident promptly. Any person with such information can come forward and initiate a disciplinary proceeding against a law student. Complainants must send the report via email to the Dean containing the following information:

  • The name of the accused law student
  • The allegation
  • The existence of a factual basis for the allegation

After receiving the complaint, the Dean can either dismiss the complaint or send the respondent an email with details of the allegation. The Dean provides the student with a timeframe to meet with an investigator to discuss the issue. Additionally, the Dean may suspend the student temporarily from attending classes or issue a no-contact order.

The Investigation

The investigator launches an investigation within 14 days of receiving the complaint from the Dean. The investigator meets with the respondent during this process and gathers information, data, statements, and other essential details about the case. The respondent may choose not to meet with the investigator, but s/he will continue gathering information regardless of the student's participation.

Once the investigation ends, the investigator sends a report to the complainant and the Dean or the Dean's designee within seven days. If the Latter believes no clear or convincing evidence exists to pursue the allegation, s/he drops the case. However, if the Dean or the designee believes there is evidence, they may take two routes:

  • Attempt to resolve the matter directly with the respondent
  • Prepare a written recommendation for sanctions regarding the allegation and send it to the respondent

If the respondent disagrees with the decision, s/he has the option to ask for an appeal hearing.

Appeal Hearing

Law students accused of violating the code of conduct may appeal the Dean's decision. The issue goes to the Student Affairs Committee, which sets up an Appeal Hearing in these cases. The Code Committee overseas the hearing and examines the evidence against the respondent, comparing it to the tenets of the code. Once the hearing concludes, the committee decides to continue with the recommended sanctions or assign lesser ones.

The committee's decision is final. However, students have one more chance to appeal upon the emergence of newly-discovered evidence. To re-appeal, students must send an email to the Chairperson of the Code Committee. The Chairperson has the jurisdiction to determine whether the request is valid and whether the committee should hold another hearing.

Sanctions for Academic Misconduct at Mitchell Hamline

The application of the penalty and the severity of the sanctions depend on the seriousness of the offense. They include:

  • Restitution
  • Dismissal from one or more classes
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion

Additionally, the code maintains that a student can receive other sanctions not listed above, depending on the case. Regardless of sanction severity, any matter that makes its way to your official transcript has severe implications on your graduation prospects and career as an attorney. For these reasons, it's best not to handle the issue alone and speak to a seasoned professional who understands how committees work and how to negotiate for less severe sanctions.

Hiring an Attorney-Advisor

When you face allegations of academic misconduct at Mitchell Hamline or any law school, you need the support of a professional who knows what's at stake. Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento helps students nationwide face misconduct allegations by reducing the likelihood of a negative case outcome.

Attorney-Advisor Lento specializes in student defense and identifies procedural errors, bias, and irrelevant information that put your future at stake. With his unwavering support for clients and a thorough understanding of hearing and appeals processes, Attorney-Advisor Lento helps you navigate this complex process. Regardless of the allegation, Attorney-Advisor Lento believes that every student has the right to defend themselves.

If you face allegations of academic misconduct at Mitchell Hamline, every minute matters. Don't let your years of hard work, time, and the money you spent on your degree go to waste. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 for a discreet and thorough consultation.

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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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