Student Defense – University of Hawaii at Manoa William S. Richardson School of Law

The University of Hawaii at Manoa's William S. Richardson School of Law strives to be a community of scholars and courageous leaders who seek justice. One of the Law School's goals is to develop highly qualified, ethical professionals who accept responsibility for their actions and have a deep sense of justice or balance. To that end, the William S. Richardson School of Law has academic and disciplinary regulations that explain what is acceptable behavior and what is not.

Students who do not conduct themselves according to the mission and values of the William S. Richardson School of Law may face disciplinary action. The consequences of academic or professional misconduct range from getting a failing grade in a class to expulsion from the law school. Students with a notation of misconduct on their record may also struggle to find employment or pass their character and fitness evaluation for the state bar association.

If you have been accused of misconduct by the William S. Richardson School of Law, your prospects for a career as a lawyer might be at risk. Consider contacting a qualified student defense attorney-advisor for help.

Student Misconduct at the William S. Richardson School of Law

The William S. Richardson School of Law Student Handbook contains all relevant policies concerning academic and professional integrity for law students. Law students at the William S. Richardson School of Law are also responsible for following the University of Hawaii (UH) policies that apply to them.

Examples of Prohibited Behavior

The Student Handbook lists disciplinary violations that will result in disciplinary action. Some of these actions include:

  • Willful or repeated failure to comply with UH or Law School policies
  • Interference with the rights of students, faculty, or staff
  • Disruption or impairment of Law School activities
  • Plagiarism
  • Violation of exam rules
  • Failure to report a violation of the Student Handbook if a student has reason to believe a violation has occurred
  • Obstruction or prevention of enforcement of Law School regulations
  • Failing to cooperate with the Disciplinary Committee
  • Forging or altering any UH document, record, or instrument of identification
  • Stealing, damaging, or destroying books, notes, computers, library materials, teaching materials, or information technology resources
  • Unauthorized use of computing or other facilities
  • Submitting another's work as one's own
  • Fabricating or falsifying data in research
  • Altering the record of any assessment, points, or grade
  • Unprofessional conduct

How the William S. Richardson School of Law Handles Academic Misconduct

To deal with suspected disciplinary violations, the William S. Richardson School of Law has a four-stage process: Investigation, informal disposition, Disciplinary Committee procedure, and appeals.


All students, faculty, and staff who suspect a disciplinary violation can report it to the Law School Dean or Associate Dean. If the person alleging misconduct wants the Dean or Associate Dean to conduct an investigation, a formal investigation starts. During the investigation, the Dean or Associate Dean meets with the accused student.

Informal Disposition

After the investigation, the Dean or Associate Dean may informally dismiss the allegation if they find it to be unfounded. No record of the allegation goes in the student's law school record. The Dean or Associate Dean may also determine that the allegation is founded and resolve the matter with the student directly. The Dean or Associate Dean can propose sanctions or disciplinary actions. If the student agrees and accepts the informal sanctions, the matter closes.

Disciplinary Committee Procedures

If the Dean or Associate Dean believes the allegation merits formal disciplinary action, they may refer the matter to the Disciplinary Committee. This Committee consists of four Law School faculty members and one third-year law student. After the Disciplinary Committee formally charges the student with a violation, it sets a hearing date.

At the hearing, the Dean or Associate Dean presents the case against the accused student and may be assisted by counsel. The accused student also has the right to have anyone of their choosing represent them before the Disciplinary Committee. Both parties at the hearing have the right to introduce evidence, call witnesses, and cross-examine witnesses. The Dean or Associate Dean bears the burden of proof to establish by clear and convincing evidence that the student defendant violated UH or Law School policies, rules, or regulations.

After the hearing, the Disciplinary Committee meets in private to deliberate and decides by majority vote. The Committee can vote to acquit the student or establish a violation and may recommend sanctions.


Students who wish to appeal the Disciplinary Committee's decision may do so by writing to the Dean for Academic Affairs within 14 days of the Committee's decision. A Disciplinary Review Panel consisting of all faculty members except those who served on the Disciplinary Committee for the hearing will hear the appeal. The Review Panel can either adopt the Committee's decision, adopt the decision but impose a lesser sanction or set aside the decision in whole or in part. The Review Panel's decision is final.

Potential Sanctions

The Disciplinary Committee at the William S. Richardson School of Law may impose one or more of the following sanctions:

  • Reprimand
  • Censure
  • Grade reduction or revocation of privilege, certificate, or degree
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion

The Law School will report any violation that constitutes unprofessional conduct to state bar examiners.

Can a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor Help?

If you are facing an allegation of a disciplinary violation at the William S. Richardson School of Law, you may be unsure how to conduct yourself during disciplinary proceedings. An experienced student defense attorney-advisor can help you identify witnesses, prepare evidence, and even represent you at your hearing. You'll have an advocate by your side throughout the entire process.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped countless law students across the nation with disciplinary matters and they can help you protect your rights and safeguard your future as a lawyer. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to get started.

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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