Student Defense: University of Baltimore School of Law

Established in 1925, UB School of Law is one of four colleges that make up the University of Baltimore. UB School of Law is among the only two law schools in Maryland. Multiple notable alumni in the state are graduates of the institution, including a former Vice President. The institution offers Juris Doctor and LL.M. degrees in tax and law. It boasts six law centers in addition to numerous externships and clinics. Students graduating from UB School of Law can look forward to multiple career opportunities after graduation – but only if they demonstrate the highest principles of academic integrity.

UB School of Law imposes conduct requirements and enforces a rigid process to maintain its high standards. Students who make egregious mistakes or commit multiple violations face sanctions that range from a warning to expulsion. While most cases won't end in a permanent dismissal, even a suspension has adverse consequences for would-be lawyers. Without the help of an attorney advisor, law students facing harsh sanctions may no longer be able to pursue their dreams of getting into the legal field.

Honor Code and Academic Misconduct

According to the Honor Code, professional and academic responsibility are core tenets of a student's character necessary for a proper legal education. As a result, all students at the UB School of Law must sign an honor pledge and abide by the rules established in the code. The document lists violations with numerous examples for each act.

Actions that constitute academic misconduct at UB School of Law include:

  • Plagiarism: Students commit this violation when they deliberately or unintentionally misrepresent another person's work as a personal effort. Examples include paraphrasing, using sources without quotation, and misrepresenting another person's conclusions or analysis.
  • Cheating: When students cheat, they try to gain an advantage over their peers through unauthorized and unethical means. Examples include possessing unauthorized materials during exams or receiving the answers to test questions from the internet or another student.
  • Misuse of Material: Students must not damage, remove, or destroy any materials with the intent to cause intentional harm. Misuse includes taking a professor's notes without permission or a student's study/class notes without consent. Another example is when a student knowingly provides a peer with wrong information regarding class assignments or requirements.
  • Communications Regarding Examinations: Law students who take an exam or quiz may not discuss the exam questions with students scheduled to take it in another class. This act also includes refraining from discussing exam answers when another student may overhear the conversation.
  • Misrepresentation: Involves students committing document falsification, forgery, and misrepresenting credentials. It also includes deliberately making claims that a student worked a specific number of hours when they did not.
  • Impeding the Honor Code Process: Students must not commit actions to prevent the honor council from receiving factual information. Examples of this violation include failing to reveal knowledge to administrators, misleading the investigation, and filing a false complaint.

If someone believes a student is committing a violation, they must report it through a School of Law Honor Board Complaint. They may also write to the Honor Board Chairperson or the Honor Board Advisor.

Investigation and Hearing Process

The Chairperson or Advisor assigns a member of the Honor Board to investigate and choose three student members to serve on the Preliminary Review Panel (PRP). The accused may request recusal of an investigator or member of the PRP to avoid potential bias.

The PRP panel investigates the issue to determine whether the issue warrants a hearing. If they decide that there is insufficient evidence, they dismiss the case. However, if there is cause to believe the matter deserves a hearing, they inform the student. Fortunately, students can have an advisor present during the hearing process.

Once the panel reviews the evidence and questions witnesses, its members meet privately to deliberate and decide the outcome. If they find that the student committed a violation, they report the matter to the Bar Examiners.

Appeals Process

Students may request an appeal by sending a letter to the Office of the Provost within ten days of receiving the panel's decision. Students may appeal under four grounds:

  • A lack of evidence to support the findings of the panel
  • An issue in the adjudication process, such as a substantial change in the way a board handles a case
  • New evidence that emerges after the hearing that may change the outcome
  • The sanctions are disproportionate to the violation

The office will send a student a written notice with its decision and copy the Dean and Chair of the Hearing Committee.

Sanctions for Academic Misconduct

Sanctions depend on the violation, the level of a student's cooperation with the panel, and the number of times a student committed an offense. According to the code, possible outcomes include:

  • A written reprimand that becomes a part of the student's permanent record
  • Loss of credit for a course or class
  • Placement on probation
  • Community Service
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion from the School of Law

The panel may also introduce a different sanction depending on the violation type. Any kind of allegation, and especially consequent sanctions, regardless of the severity, can have a significant impact on a law student's prospects. A finding of academic misconduct, as noted, will be reported to the Bar Examiners in the state or jurisdiction you are seeking licensure, whether in Maryland, Washington, D.C., or Virginia, for example.

It is important to bear in mind that if you can get admitted as an attorney, an academic misconduct finding in law school can literally follow an attorney for the rest of their lives, as they may seek later admission in other states, on motion, for example, and/or when they are seeking to be admitted pro hac vice in other jurisdictions. In short, everything is at stake when accused of academic misconduct in law school, and such concerns need to be taken incredibly seriously and handled as best as possible.

How An Attorney-Advisor Helps

Since there is much that is at stake for your future as a law student and a prospective attorney, you need the help of a highly experienced attorney advisor to help an accused student navigate the process. Not just any advisor will do – you need the expertise of a specialist who works with students nationwide.

Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm understand the intricacies of adjudication process and work hard to help students avoid unfair outcomes. With years of experience specializing in student defense, Attorney-Advisor Lento and his team help identify issues in the hearing process to avoid bias and decrease the chance of an unfavorable outcome.

If you face challenges at UB School of Law due to an honor code violation or accusation of academic misconduct, don't wait to take action. Call the Lento Law Firm now at 888-535-3686 for a discreet and in-depth consultation about what comes next.

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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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