When applying to law school, you never imagine that your time there might be jeopardized by academic misconduct or professionalism concerns. You have been dreaming of this path for so long, taking the entrance exams, keeping your undergraduate grades up, and working tirelessly towards your goals. To be accused of misconduct at the University of Maryland Law School would surely throw you for a loop. Especially when those accusations hold such severe potential consequences as suspension from the program or complete expulsion from the university, both of which would mar your reputation and make it exceedingly difficult to gain employment within the legal field. Working with an attorney-advisor is essential if you or someone you love has been accused of violating their law school's honor code. Attorney-advisors can help mitigate these negative consequences and bring about the best possible outcome.
The University of Maryland has a very strict and specific honor code that attempts to have its students adhere to the same principles of professional responsibility as barred attorneys. Thus, an honor code violation is when a student engages in forbidden conduct purposefully, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently. The honor code goes on to define purposefully, knowingly, recklessly, and negligently and states which specific actions violate the honor code, including:
- Using materials or getting some other form of help during an exam, research or writing assignments, or competition without the professor or moderator's express permission.
- Submitting someone else's work as your own – whether it's a draft or in its final form.
- Making material misrepresentations.
- Discussing the contents of an exam with someone who hasn't taken it yet or in a place where it could be overheard by someone who hasn't taken it yet.
- Giving or receiving help during an exam or not abiding by the exam time limits.
- Engaging in any conduct you know will give you an unfair advantage on an exam, clinical, competition, or other activity where you are getting academic credit.
- Knowingly breaking the rules, whether or not you gained an unfair advantage.
- Using the law school library, writing center, or career development office to alter or destroy materials, remove materials without permission, or deprive students of the materials.
- Stealing, damaging, depriving other students of their own books, notes, computer, or other class-related materials.
- Knowingly damaging or disrupting the school's computers, systems, or networks.
- Making any material misrepresentation on a document submitted for employment, including a resume, grade report, cover letter, recommendation, or writing sample.
- Knowingly filing a false complaint.
- Failing to make a prompt complaint.
- Or knowingly failing to follow the Honor Board's provision on conflict of interest or confidentiality.
Every person, whether they are a student, administrator, or faculty member, who has reason to believe an honor code violation has taken place, must report it to the Honor Board Chairperson or the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in writing. When the Honor Board Chairperson receives the complaint, they have ten class days to meet with the Honor Board. They will then discuss the complaint and determine whether the allegations signify a possible violation of the Honor Code. If at least five members of the Honor Board agree that it does, the Chairperson will select one of them to be the Presenter of Facts. The Presenter of Facts will begin investigating the accusations.
Within ten class days, the Presenter of Facts will contact all witnesses and the accused student and prepare a written statement of each witness's accounts of the situation. At the end of this investigation, the Presenter of Facts will discuss the results with the Chairperson. If the Chairperson believes there is no reasonable basis for the complaint, they can dismiss the charge. But, if they do find a reasonable basis for the complaint, they will set a hearing date within ten class days and notify the accused in writing.
At the hearing, the Presenter of Facts will present the witnesses, and the accused will have the opportunity to rebut any testimony and present their defense. When the hearing is over, the Honor Board will determine whether the accused student is guilty of violating the honor code by a preponderance of the evidence. They will also determine any necessary sanctions to be imposed on the student. Sanctions may include:
- Permanent expulsion
- Suspension for a specific period
- An official reprimand placed into the student's permanent records and disclosed to the bar examiners for whatever state the student chooses to take the bar exam in
- Lowering of the course grade
The accused student has the right to appeal the Honor Board's decision, but the Board's decision can only be overturned if the student can show that it was arbitrary, capricious, or lacking a substantial factual basis.
How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help
Honor code or professionalism violation accusations at the University of Maryland Law school can wreak havoc on a law student's future. Expulsion can remove you from the legal field altogether, and suspension or a formal reprimand will be reported to the board of bar examiners for your state, creating further hurdles for you to jump over when trying to gain bar admission. The consequences of honor code violations have the potential to follow you well into your professional career. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm have spent years helping hundreds of law students accused of honor code violations across the country. They work diligently to mitigate any negative consequences that may result from these allegations. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation. You have worked so hard for your legal dreams, don't let an accusation like this stand. Let Lento Law Firm help.