The Thomas Goode Jones School of Law, or Faulkner Law, is a private law school established in 1928 in Montgomery, Alabama. The law school is part of Faulkner University, offering a joint J.D./LL.M. program in dispute resolution and the J.D. degree. Faulkner Law provides a legal education steeped in Christian principles and emphasizes community service and good character. Thus, students must demonstrate high moral and ethical principles befitting their future professions as lawyers, and avoid academic dishonesty.
Law school is an exciting time for any student, placing theory into practice and learning about the details of the legal profession. However, sometimes it may be too much to handle, especially when the pressure to succeed becomes too much. Some students make mistakes or experience genuine lapses in judgment that lead them to commit violations. And while all students make mistakes, some have more severe consequences than others. Academic misconduct leads to sanctions, including suspension and expulsion, delaying graduation, and causing significant emotional and reputational damage. Without the help of an experienced attorney-advisor, law students may face substantial issues that extend beyond their college years and seep into their professional endeavors.
Honor Code at Faulkner Law
Since all universities want to have a stellar reputation, maintaining a level playing field is commendable. However, in cases where students are innocent, an accusation of academic misconduct leads to problematic outcomes. According to the student handbook, violations of the honor code come with repercussions, including hearings and sanctions. The following actions constitute violations at Faulkner Law School:
- Engaging in plagiarism by representing another person's work as one's effort
- Receiving, soliciting, or offering assistance on an academic exercise without a professor's knowledge or consent
- Using unauthorized materials during exams or in the classroom
- Concealing, stealing, or destroying library materials
- Copying the work of a student or allowing a peer to do the same
- Obtaining copies of an exam before it starts or distributing it to other students
- Taking any action to compromise examination anonymity
- Failing to disclose information to a professor regarding work submitted for credit
- Deliberately making false statements or engaging in the spread of misinformation
- Revealing confidential information
- Engaging in any conduct that is against the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers
- Conspiring with others to violate the honor code
- Abusing Honor Court Processes
- Intimidating complainants after they file a report
- Filing a frivolous notice of an Honor Code Violation
Students who engage in the above actions may face an Honor Court and receive sanctions for their behavior. Although the severity of the sanctions depends on the gravity of the violation, avoiding penalties altogether is a better option than having a notation on your transcript. Unfortunately, many students assume that they can take on the panel alone. Although, in some cases, this is possible, the risk is significant. However, the support and guidance of an attorney advisor increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.
Reporting Process and Hearing
Any member of Faulkner Law who believes a student violated the Honor Code principles must report the issue to the Law School Prosecutor. The Prosecutor sends a copy of the complaint to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and investigates to determine probable cause. If the Prosecutor believes a violation occurred, they file a motion with the Honor Court to initiate a hearing. The Court establishes a sanctions hearing after the initial hearing on the Merits. After the Court listens to the statements and examines the evidence, it determines the appropriate sanctions for the infarction.
Fortunately, students can appeal the Honor Court's decision to the Dean within three days of receiving their decision. Although students may file an appeal, the Dean does not hear additional statements. He decides the matter based on the evidence and information presented during the hearing. It is best not to wait until the hearing to speak to a skilled attorney-advisor.
In most cases, it is too late to make a change based on the evidence presented during the Honor Court. However, if an attorney-advisor works with the student from the start, the case has a higher chance of success.
Sanctions for Violating the Honor Code
Faulkner Law imposes strict sanctions against students who go against the honor code and commit violations. The severity of the sanctions depends on the student's conduct and whether they engaged in previous offenses. Some of these penalties include:
- Placement on probation temporarily
- Dismissal from the Law review and moot Court
- Restitution if applicable
- Receiving a written reprimand placed on the student's permanent record
- Cancellation of the work done for the course
- An incomplete grade, grade reduction, or an F on the course
- Any other penalty appropriate determined by the Dean or Honor Court
Because most of these sanctions have detrimental effects on your future as a law student, you must take immediate action to decrease the likelihood of their occurrence. One of the best ways to do so is to contact a skilled attorney-advisor.
Contacting an Attorney-Advisor
Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento understands what you and your family are going through. With years of experience working with students nationwide, Advisor Lento knows what is at stake and what you are facing. Attorney-Advisor Lento specializes in student defense. His expertise and strategy increase the likelihood of a favorable case outcome, as does your confidence and peace of mind.
Although your professors expect you to make mistakes and guide you toward making the right decisions, some allegations are baseless. You are still a student, and your professional life does not have to suffer due to a mistake you made in law school. Moreover, whether it is a genuine mistake or a lapse in judgment, you still deserve a fair and unbiased hearing.
Your degree is on the line, and so is your reputation. You don't have to face a hearing panel alone. If you or someone you love face allegations of academic misconduct at Faulkner Law School, don't delay. Contact Lento Law Firm today for a thorough consultation at 888-535-3686.