Student Defense – University of Colorado Law School

The legal profession requires a high standard of professional competence and integrity in work and conduct. Law students at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder are held to these standards as well. A commitment to professional ethics and academic integrity is an essential part of training for a law degree at the University of Colorado Law School.

Students who do not behave according to the ethical standards Colorado Law sets may face disciplinary action. As a law student, an accusation of academic or professional misconduct can put your legal career at risk. Although you may get sanctions from your law school, the consequences will extend much further. A misconduct determination may go on your law school record, where the state bar association and potential employers can see it. You may also have trouble passing the bar's character and fitness evaluation, preventing you from obtaining your law license.

Student Misconduct at the University of Colorado Law School

The University of Colorado Law School has an Honor Code that governs academic integrity and ethics. All law students must follow the Honor Code, and each year, the students elect 12 members to serve on an Honor Council. Law students must sign a statement saying they are both familiar with the Honor Code and agree to abide by it. In addition to the Honor Code, students must follow the Rules of the Law School. The Rules pertain mostly to faculty, however, they do cover incidents of student misconduct that are not governed by the Honor Code.

Prohibited conduct for students at Colorado Law

The following behaviors constitute a violation of the Honor Code:

  • Plagiarism
  • Use of unauthorized sources
  • Unauthorized collaboration
  • Material misrepresentations
  • Previously submitted material
  • Accessing faculty academic material without authorization
  • Obstructing access to academic materials
  • Writing or typing an examination in any place not authorized by faculty
  • Exceeding examination time limits
  • Failure to report an Honor Code violation

Law students violate the Rules of the Law school if they:

  • Provide materially false or misleading information to Colorado Law in connection with admission
  • Change, alter, falsify, or tamper with a student transcript
  • Make material misrepresentations that aren't covered by the Honor Code
  • Injure or obstruct the operation of Colorado Law in any academic or related functions
  • Injure or obstruct the academic performance of fellow law students

How the University of Colorado Law School Handles Misconduct

Academic misconduct

Honor Code violations are handled by the Honor Council and Student Bar Association (SBA). The Chairperson of the Honor Council receives all reports of suspected Honor Code violations and must decide whether to refer them to the SBA president or not. The SBA president will then conduct an investigation into the allegation. The investigation involves notifying the accused student and gathering evidence, witness lists, and testimony.

The SBA president presents their investigation results to the Honor Council Chairperson, and together, they decide if the case should go to a hearing. Hearings take place in front of a Hearing Panel, which consists of six members of the Honor Council. Accused students are allowed to have an attorney represent them at the hearing. Both sides will present evidence and call witnesses at the hearing, and once it's over, the Panel will make a determination and recommend sanctions. The Dean then reviews the Hearing Panel's report and makes a decision. Students may appeal the Dean's decision for further review.

Professional misconduct

When a student violates the Rules of the Law School, there is Review Committee Hearing. At this hearing, accused students may present evidence and cross-examine their accusers. Also, Colorado Law has the burden of proof. Students may have an external representative with them at this hearing, such as an attorney.

Once the hearing is over, the Review Committee will reach a decision and, if applicable, recommend sanctions. The Dean must then affirm or reduce the recommended sanction. Students can appeal the Dean's final action approving the sanction by filing a written reply to the decision within 10 days of the Dean's report.

Potential Sanctions for Misconduct at the University of Colorado Law School

Students who have violated the Honor Code may face one of the following sanctions:

  • Compulsory withdrawal (expulsion)
  • Suspension for a period of one or more semesters
  • A failing grade in any class in which the student has committed the violation
  • Completion of course or study of particular topics, essays, research papers, or reflections related to the violation

Sanctions for violating the Rules of the Law School include:

  • Expulsion
  • Indefinite or definite suspension
  • Refused permission to re-enroll
  • Lesser penalty such as a letter of reprimand

If students are guilty of changing, altering, falsifying, or tampering with an official or unofficial copy of a student transcript to misrepresent information contained therein, the presumed penalty is expulsion. Also, Colorado Law may report any conduct to state bar examiners that casts doubt on a student's eligibility for admission to the practice of law.

How a Student Discipline Attorney-Advisor Can Help

When you're facing an allegation of academic misconduct at Colorado Law, your law school will consider it a grave matter. The formal procedures in place to handle such misconduct can feel overwhelming if you've never dealt with student disciplinary issues before. You may think that you can handle it yourself, but without the knowledge of how student discipline cases typically play out, you could find yourself with an unfavorable outcome if you go it alone.

A student defense attorney-advisor with experience guiding students through misconduct cases can help. Your advisor can assist you with defense preparation, gathering evidence, and can be present with you at the hearing.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of law students across the country with defending misconduct allegations. If you're concerned about your future as a lawyer, contact the Lento Law Firm today 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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