Student Defense – Syracuse University College of Law

The Syracuse University College of Law prepares students to become practicing attorneys by instilling the values of honesty, integrity, and ethical behavior. Learning to adhere to these standards in law school will help students become honest members of the legal profession. It also upholds the reputation of the Syracuse College of Law and fosters a sense of trust among the law school community.

Students who do not follow these guidelines for behavior can expect disciplinary action from Syracuse Law. Sanctions could be severe enough to hold up a student's progress toward a law degree. Additionally, formal notations of misconduct on a student's record could prevent them from seeking employment or jeopardize their chances of passing the character and fitness evaluation with their state bar association.

If you are accused of misconduct at Syracuse Law, consider contacting a student discipline attorney-advisor who can assist you.

Student Misconduct at Syracuse Law

At Syracuse Law, students must follow the Code of Student Conduct contained in the Academic Handbook. The Code applies to all admitted students at the College of Law and non-admitted students taking classes in the College of Law.

Examples of Misconduct

The Code of Student Conduct at Syracuse Law covers all forms of misconduct — academic, personal, and professional. Some examples of violations of the Code that will lead to disciplinary action include:

  • Serious and unreasonable disruption of law school activities
  • Plagiarism and unattributed copying
  • Collaboration on any course work beyond the degree of collaboration explicitly authorized by a course instructor
  • Intentional failure to follow the rules of an exam
  • Stealing an exam or obtaining knowledge of the content of an exam before the exam
  • Using books, notes, or other materials during an exam that the instructor does not specifically authorize
  • Deliberately hiding library materials to prevent others from using them
  • False representations regarding graduation, class rank, grades, organization membership, employment, or officership
  • Making a false or deceptive statement on an application for admission to the College of Law
  • Refusal to cooperate with any proceeding under the Code of Student Conduct
  • Using computers or other electronic equipment during class in a manner prohibited y the written or oral instructions of the professor of the course

How Syracuse Law Handles Student Misconduct

At Syracuse Law, anyone may make a statement to the Office of the Dean alleging a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. The faculty appoints a Prosecutor to investigate the charge and decide if it should go forward under the Code's disciplinary procedures. During the Prosecutor's investigation, they may meet with the accused student or other involved parties to ascertain facts.

Settlement Conference

If the Prosecutor goes forward with a charge, they must notify the accused student. The accused student then has 21 days to respond to the charge and schedule a settlement conference with the Prosecutor. At the conference, the Prosecutor and the student may try to reach an agreement. If the matter is not resolved at the settlement conference, it moves to a hearing.


Accused students go before a hearing panel comprised of two students and three faculty members. Before the hearing starts, the accused student and the Prosecutor meet to agree on a statement of disputed and undisputed facts and, if they agree, submit it to the hearing panel. If they disagree, each party presents their own proposal of the statement of disputed and undisputed facts.

Both the Prosecutor and accused student may call and cross-examine witnesses. They can also present evidence. The burden of proof is on the Prosecutor to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the charged violation is conduct prohibited by the Code of Student Conduct and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused student has committed the violation.

At the settlement conference and hearing, the accused student may have a legal counsel of their choosing (except faculty or staff of the College of Law) to represent them.


The hearing panel votes to determine if the accused student is guilty of a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. The panel has one week after the hearing to make its decision. If the panel determines the student is guilty, it may also impose discipline.


Students may appeal the decision of a hearing panel, Prosecutor, or Dean to the faculty. To do so, students must file an appeal within 14 days after receiving the opinion of the hearing panel. The faculty hearing panel may accept a brief by the appellant or permit oral arguments but not reexamine witnesses. The faculty hearing panel can revise the disposition of the original hearing panel, and the faculty's decision is final.

Potential Sanctions

After a disciplinary hearing under the Syracuse Law Code of Student Conduct, the hearing panel may impose sanctions if a student is guilty. Sanctions include but are not limited to:

  • Non-punitive oral or written warning
  • A punitive written censure
  • Suspension for one or more terms
  • Expulsion with the possibility of readmission
  • Permanent expulsion

In addition to the panel's sanctions, the College of Law may impose discipline such as:

  • Performing community service
  • Making financial restitution
  • Attending mandatory counseling
  • Depriving a student of privileges

The College of Law may also report the finding of guilt and determination of penalties to any state bar to which the student applies.

How Can a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor Help?

If you are facing an allegation of misconduct at Syracuse Law, you may feel overwhelmed by the formality of the disciplinary procedures. An experienced student defense legal advisor can guide you through the process and even represent you at your conference with the Prosecutor and at a potential hearing.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of law students across the country in misconduct matters with their universities and law schools. If you want to protect your future as a lawyer, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.

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.

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