Student Defense – St. John’s University School of Law

At St. John's University School of Law, all students are held to professional standards that embody the ideals of the legal profession. The community is committed to integrity, honesty, and candor, and students must exhibit these principles in all formal course settings, with respect to all coursework, and in all law school and University relationships and interactions connected with the educational process.

Students who don't display the standards of conduct befitting lawyers may face disciplinary procedures from St. John's Law. The law school could impose sanctions on students found guilty of professional or academic misconduct, which could impede a student's progress toward a law degree. A guilty notation of misconduct on a student's law school record could also prevent them from finding clerkships or obtaining employment after graduation from law school. Another serious consequence of a misconduct incident could be the inability to pass the state bar association's character and fitness evaluation.

If you are a student at St. John's Law accused of professional misconduct, your future as a lawyer could be at stake. Consider contacting an experienced student discipline attorney-advisor for help.

Academic Misconduct at St. John's Law

At St. John's Law, all students must follow the rules and regulations set out in the Student Handbook. The Handbook contains a policy for misconduct, the Code of Student Professional Responsibility. This Code provides examples of unprofessional behavior or behavior contrary to the law school's values of integrity, honesty, and candor. It also provides grievance procedures for how to handle suspected conduct violations.

Law students at St. John's Law should also note that they are subject to University policies as well as law school policies. They must also adhere to the St. John’s University Student Code of Conduct.

Examples of Prohibited Conduct at St. John's Law

  • Material misrepresentations by a student concerning academic or employment matters
  • Taking, keeping, destroying, or hiding academic materials that are not one's own
  • Misappropriation or theft of another's work and ideas
  • Collaboration in the completion of work unless expressly permitted by the course supervisor
  • Submitting one paper or piece of written work or substantially the same work in fulfillment of the requirements for two or more courses, seminars, or without the consent of the instructor
  • Subverting the Law School Attendance Policy by “signing in” for another student or a class one has not attended
  • Failing to comply with examination procedures

Disciplinary Procedures for Unprofessional Conduct at St. John's Law

If anyone suspects a violation of the Code of Student Professional Responsibility, they must report it to the Dean of the School of Law. The Dean will do a preliminary inquiry to decide if the accusation has substance or not. If the Dean decides the matter does have substance, they will ask the accuser to make a formal, written charge. After receiving the formal charge, the Dean will inform the accused student and the Grievance Committee of the complaint.

Hearing Before the Grievance Committee

At St. John's Law, the Grievance Committee consists of three faculty members and two students. These members are chosen at random from among student and faculty organizations at the law school. The Grievance Committee is responsible for conducting hearings to deal with suspected violations of the Code of Student Professional Responsibility.

When the Grievance Committee receives a formal complaint from the Dean, it will schedule a hearing within 25 days. At the hearing, an appointee of the Dean will represent the law school, and the accused student has the right to representation by an outside counsel or another representative of their choosing. Both parties may call and cross-examine witnesses, as well as present evidence. Accused students may also submit affidavits or other evidence of good character for consideration by the Grievance Committee before its decision.

Grievance Committee Decision

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Grievance Committee will deliberate to decide if the charge is sustained or not. If not, the case is dismissed. If any part of the charge is sustained, the Committee must decide on an appropriate sanction. The Committee has the right to impose any sanction on a student except expulsion, which must be recommended to the Dean. The Grievance Committee makes all decisions by majority vote.

Appeal

Students who wish to appeal the decision of the Grievance Committee must submit an appeal to the Committee on Grades of the Law School Faculty Council within 20 days. The Committee on Grades serves as an appeal board and will review the record of the hearing. It can either affirm the Grievance Committee's decision without modification, affirm with a reduction in sanctions, remand the matter for another hearing, or dismiss the case.

Potential Sanctions

The Code of Student Professional Responsibility at St. John's Law only lists a few examples of sanctions the Grievance Committee may impose, but they are not exclusive:

  • Loss of course credit(s)
  • Reprimand
  • Suspension
  • Act of reparation

The Committee can also impose other sanctions as it sees fit. Expulsion must be in the form of a recommendation to the Dean.

How a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor Can Help

If you are a student at St. John's Law accused of violating the Code of Student Professional Responsibility, you should consider it a serious matter. The law school will not hesitate to bring disciplinary proceedings against you, and you could end up with a penalty such as suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions, which can be devastating to the prospect of a career in the law. An experienced attorney-advisor can help you prepare your defense, represent your interests at your hearing, and improve your chances of reaching a favorable outcome after a misconduct allegation.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped countless law students nationwide with unprofessional conduct allegations and can assist you with protecting your future as a lawyer. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to speak with an experienced student defense attorney-advisor.

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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 our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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