Student Defense: Samford Cumberland University School of Law

The Samford Cumberland School of Law is a prestigious private law school established in 1847. It is one of the oldest law schools in the country that's consistently ranked high among similar institutions. Samford Cumberland has many notable alumni, including two Supreme Court justices, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and several prominent senators, governors, and judges. The law school offers Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Comparative Law (M.C.L) degrees, with eight dual-law programs and a Master of Laws (LL.M) program. New graduates have multiple career opportunities after completing their studies due to the school's excellent reputation nationwide.

If you are part of this prestigious institution, you can look forward to a strong future and career in law. However, to remain enrolled in the program, you must also prove that you have what it takes to succeed, like maintaining excellent performance and demonstrating high ethical standards. And while mistakes are common and expected, not all lead to the same results. Some lapses in judgment have heavy repercussions on your future and may delay or prevent you from graduating altogether. When you face sanctions that threaten your progress, you need the help of a skilled attorney advisor who understands what's at stake and works tirelessly for the best possible outcome.

Honor Code and Resolving Academic Matters

As a future lawyer, you must consistently demonstrate conduct befitting your future profession. Samford Cumberland imposes strict conduct standards to prepare students for these rigorous expectations. The Honor Code contains the standards expected of students and outlines the adjudication process in case of a violation. According to the code, the following actions constitute academic misconduct at Samford Cumberland School of Law:

  • Making a material representation or a deliberate omission about an academic matter or any issue relating to the student's standing at the School of Law
  • Engaging in any conduct that allows a law student to gain an unfair academic advantage over peers
  • Depriving other students of using university property in a manner that allows them to have an unfair benefit over other students
  • Misusing school facilities and entering prohibited areas without proper authorization
  • Stealing, mutilating, defacing, or taking the property of other students or that of the university
  • Engaging in conduct that involves a form of academic dishonesty, including in the application process for admission
  • Recording class meetings, sessions, and law school events without permission
  • Using materials not authorized by a faculty member during an academic exercise
  • Taking an exam for another student or vice versa
  • Divulging the contents of an academic exercise or exam to other students
  • Unauthorized collaboration with another student
  • Deliberately engaging in misrepresentation or the provision of false information

The Honor Code mentions that law students who engage in these actions face sanctions that vary in severity, depending on the case and the violation.

Honor Court Procedure

Students who violate the Honor Code must face an Honor Court that adopts the investigation process's rules and procedures. As per the code, “The accused shall have the burden of proof of any affirmative defense, and an affirmative defense shall be proved by clear and convincing evidence.” Both the accused and the accuser must provide information and standard of proof to present their arguments.

The accused student still has multiple rights under the code, including having a copy of the honor code procedure guide, receiving notice from the Investigative Panel about the alleged violation, acting as their counsel, or receiving representation by another person of their choice. Moreover, accused students may present their evidence and ask all witnesses questions during the hearing. Once this process ends, the Honor Justices deliberate and recommend a sanction regarding the matter.


Fortunately, students have the right to appeal the Honor Court's decision to the Dean within fourteen days. The Dean will then review the case details and determine whether the evidence presented during the hearing is sufficient. Moreover, the Dean also examines the proposed sanctions and compares them to the violation. Depending on the case, the Dean may modify the penalties to ensure they are fair and just.

Students also have one last chance to petition the Honor Court within one year of the imposed sanctions if newly discovered evidence is available. The Honor Court examines these petitions case-by-case basis to determine if the case has merit. If yes, a rehearing is possible, and the Honor Court may affirm, modify, or reverse its original decision.

Sanctions for Academic Misconduct

Sanction severity depends on numerous factors, such as the severity of the violation, how many times a student committed this or similar actions, and the student's overall record and behavior. According to the Honor Code, one or more of the following sanctions may apply for academic misconduct at Samford Cumberland School of Law:

  • An official reprimand that remains on the student's permanent record
  • Loss of course credit and removal of awards
  • Suspension from the Law School
  • Expulsion
  • Miscellaneous penalties that the Honor Court deems fair

Additionally, the School of Law may withhold a degree from a law student while an investigation is pending. Due to these issues, law students facing sanctions for academic misconduct at Samford Cumberland need the help of an expert who works in their best interest.

Contacting an Attorney-Advisor

Being a law student at Sanford Cumberland School of Law is a fantastic opportunity, but it also comes with many responsibilities. You may face graduation delays with accusations of academic misconduct or have to forgo your dream of becoming an attorney. This delay is due to the damage that sanctions have on your immediate future and long-term success. Before you face these penalties, you need the help and guidance of a professional attorney-advisor with experience.

Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento specializes in student defense. With years of experience helping law students avoid harmful sanctions, advisor Lento enables you to gain clarity, avoid bias, and choose the best strategy. These decrease the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome.

If you face sanctions at Sanford Cumberland School of Law, don't wait before it's too late to take action. Call the Lento Law Firm today for a discreet 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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