Student Defense: University of Maine School of Law

The University of Maine School of Law (Maine Law) is a public law school established in 1962 in Portland, Maine. It is the state's only law school and is part of the University of Maine. The law school has a bar passage rate of 91% and has many notable alums. In addition to the Juris Doctor degree, Maine Law also offers dual degree programs, the LL.M and the J.S.D. programs. Upon graduation, students have multiple opportunities to seek flourishing careers in law due to Maine Law's strong reputation. However, they must also demonstrate high ethical behavior principles that benefit their future professions to graduate on time.

Attending law school is an exciting time for a law student. Learning about your future profession and applying those principles in your daily life shape your personality and attitude for success. However, because of the immense pressure to succeed and keep up with your peers, you may also experience stress and make mistakes. Your professors understand that errors are part of the learning process. However, some come with severe consequences, like suspension or expulsion. Since Maine Law is the only law school in the state, staying enrolled is essential. You must take action if you receive notice of an academic misconduct violation. The best way to do so is to speak with a skilled attorney-advisor for the best possible outcome.

Academic Integrity Policy

The Student Handbook for Maine Law students contains the University of Maine Academic Integrity Policy. All students in the system must follow this policy. As per the code, all students must recognize that academic integrity is vital to the university's function. All students must act honestly and ethically and avoid lying, cheating, and stealing. The handbook lists the following actions as violations of academic integrity:

  • Plagiarism: This violation includes using another person's words, ideas, or material verbatim or paraphrasing without giving credit. Students must also refrain from submitting work prepared by another person, as this falls under plagiarism.
  • Cheating: When students cheat, they deceive or attempt to deceive professors by misrepresenting their knowledge. Examples include copying answers, collaboration without permission, and using unauthorized materials. Other instances involve obtaining copies of an exam before its administration and submitting duplicate work to instructors.
  • Fabrication: This violation involves using invented information or falsifying research in an academic exercise. Examples include fabricating citations, altering assignments, and changing findings.
  • Contributing to Academic Dishonesty: Under this category, students may not assist other students in violating the code. Examples include writing a paper for another student, allowing others to copy from your exam, and helping others without a professor's authorization.
  • Miscellaneous Violations: Some infractions in the handbook don't fall under a specific category. They include destroying a peer's work, misrepresenting a student's work, selling test answers, bribery to obtain test material, and changing a grade on an exam.

Any above violations wreak havoc on a student's reputation and may cause expulsion. Even if you are innocent, do not approach the issue alone if you receive notice of an accusation. Any action taken may exacerbate your case further without the right defense strategy. Always speak to a skilled advisor to understand your options and how to move forward.

Reporting and Hearing Process

Any person who believes a student violated the academic integrity principles must report the matter to the course instructor. The professor speaks privately with the accused student to resolve the issue. If no resolution occurs, the instructor must complete an Academic Integrity Violation Form to inform the Student Conduct Officer. The student also receives a copy of the form and may admit to the violation or contest the findings. If the student challenges the charge, the Dean of the College schedules a hearing and informs the student.

During the hearing, the student may have a support person attending. However, they may not address the panel or speak on behalf of the student. Once the meeting ends, panel members determine whether the student committed a violation and impose sanctions.

Appeal

The student may request a review of the panel's findings by the Dean of the College or a designated administrator. However, the student must pinpoint the sanction that requires consideration and the reason in the appeal letter. The outcome may lead to an affirmation of the penalties, additional sanctions, or their complete removal.

Sanctions for Academic Misconduct

Sanctions for academic misconduct depend on the severity of the violation, whether the offense is minor or significant, and the student's behavior. In addition to academic sanctions, the student may also receive disciplinary penalties. These include:

  • Grade reduction or failure
  • Loss of privileges
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Restitution
  • Any other sanction deemed appropriate by the Dean

All sanctions, even minor ones, may potentially destroy a law student's dream of becoming an attorney. If you are facing an allegation or sanctions, you must contact a skilled attorney-advisor with experience in student defense.

Contacting an Attorney-Advisor

Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento has years of experience working with law students nationwide accused of academic misconduct. Advisor Lento identifies issues that have a detrimental impact on your case. Examples include identifying bias from panel members, weak evidence, and failure to follow standard protocol. With his passion for justice and expertise, advisor Lento guides you in the right direction when all seems too much to handle.

With advisor Lento by your side, you'll have more confidence to face the panel and work towards a favorable outcome. Although you may assume that you can take on the issue alone, having a professional by your side increases the chance of a fair case outcome.

You worked exceedingly hard to get into law school and start training as a lawyer. Don't let a mistake or a lapse in judgment destroy your reputation and dreams.

If you or someone you care about face accusations of academic misconduct at Maine Law, hope and help are available. Call the Lento Law Firm today for a thorough and discreet conversation about your options at 888-535-3686.