Student Defense – University of Minnesota Law School

The University of Minnesota Law School prepares law students to become lawyers that engage in honest dealing, faithfully represent their clients, and protect the integrity of an adversarial judicial system. Bar authorities help shape the norms of behavior that lawyers must follow, and law students must undertake ethical behavior during their studies if they want to become practicing lawyers.

To this end, the University of Minnesota Law School created an Honor Code, which models the Law School's commitment to integrity and trustworthiness. Students who want to behave in a manner consistent with that of legal professionals should adhere to this Honor Code and hold themselves to high standards of academic and professional conduct.

Law students who fail to uphold the standards of behavior in the Honor Code may undergo disciplinary action, resulting in an Honor Code violation on their law school record. Such an infraction can have devastating impacts on both an academic and legal career.

If you're a law student at the University of Minnesota Law School and you're facing an accusation of academic misconduct, you should consider it a serious matter.

Academic Misconduct at the University of Minnesota Law School

Law students at the University of Minnesota Law School have to follow the Academic Rules, Honor Code, and University Student Conduct Code. These policies provide guidelines on how law students should conduct themselves in academic and professional life.

Concerning academic integrity and ethical conduct, law students at Minnesota Law will find the most information in the Law School Honor Code. The Code applies to all students and provides examples of prohibited academic misconduct, as well as procedures for handling alleged violations of the Code.

Examples of academic misconduct

  • Any act expressly prohibited by instructors governing an individual academic matter
  • Plagiarism
  • Unfairly restricting other students' access to academic resources
  • Submitting the same work to fulfill the academic requirements of more than one course
  • Use of unauthorized academic material during an examination
  • Discussing an examination with anyone other than the course instructor or Law School test administration personnel
  • Soliciting, giving, or receiving unauthorized assistance to complete an exam
  • Exchanging academic resources with another student during an examination unless otherwise allowed
  • Using more time than allowed to submit or complete an exam
  • Retaining exam materials after they've been collected
  • Accessing exam materials before the start of the exam
  • Knowingly helping someone else violate the Honor Code

How Does the University of Minnesota Law School Handle Misconduct?

Potential violations of the Honor Code go through a three-step process, starting with an investigation, then to a Resolution Letter, and final hearings.

Investigation

The University of Minnesota Law School appoints an Honor Code Investigator who receives all allegations of Honor Code violations and conducts preliminary investigations. The Investigator will meet with the accused student to discuss the supposed misconduct. After no more than 25 days, the Investigator will issue a report, or Resolution Letter, with their initial conclusion on the allegation and a proposed outcome.

Resolution Letter

Students can agree to the Resolution Letter or dispute it. Students can also accept the conclusion but challenge the proposed outcome (such as a sanction). If a student challenges the Investigator's Resolution Letter, the matter proceeds to a hearing. The challenge to the Resolution Letter doesn't have to contain arguments or statements of facts as to the reason for disputing it, just an objection.

Accused students must submit their objection to the Resolution Letter within five days of its issuance. If they do not, then the Dean of the Law School receives the Letter and implements the proposed outcome.

Hearing

When an Honor Code Case goes to a hearing, the Dean of Students assembles a Hearing Panel of two students and one faculty member, all from the Honor Code Council. The accused student's opposing party in the hearing is the Honor Code Investigator. Both the accused student and Honor Code Investigator can make opening and closing statements, as well as present evidence and witnesses. Accused students may have an advocate with them at the hearing, such as an attorney.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Panel will deliberate and decide by majority vote if the accused student is guilty of having violated the Honor Code and if the proposed outcomes are appropriate. The Panel will send their decision to the parties involved within three school days of the hearing.

Consequences for Academic Misconduct

Law students who have violated the University of Minnesota Law School Honor Code may face one of the following sanctions:

  • Loss of credit for academic exercise in question
  • Loss of credit for the course in question
  • Change of grade assigned to the academic exercise in question
  • Written reprimand
  • Transcript notation
  • Probation
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Degree revocation

Possibility for Appeal

To appeal the decision of the Hearing Panel, students must file a written objection with the Dean of Students five school days after the Hearing Panel's report. The student will then go before the Appellate Review Committee at an appellate hearing.

The Appellate Review Committee may modify the Hearing Panel's decision or recommended outcome. The Committee may also remand the case for further review, including ordering a new Hearing Panel to hear the case. If the Appellate Review Committee confirms a sanction other than suspension or expulsion, the decision is final. If the confirmed sanction is suspension or expulsion, the student can still appeal to the Dean of the Law School, who will have the final decision.

Consult a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor

The formal procedures for Honor Code Cases at the University of Minnesota Law School can be long and arduous. Students unfamiliar with such proceedings may find themselves quickly overwhelmed. An attorney-advisor specialized in student defense can help accused law students prepare their defense, gather evidence, and secure witnesses for the hearing.

Too much is at stake when faced with disciplinary proceedings at University of Minnesota Law School, and students and parents should never go it alone. Law school disciplinary proceedings are a unique animal, characterized by intense and rigorous proceedings unlike most other academic institutions. Disciplinary proceedings at other graduate and professional-level programs pale in contrast to what takes place at a law school, and attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have unparalleled experience in helping students navigate the process. As importantly, they have a proven track record of successfully resolving law school issues and concerns across the nation which can literally have life-altering consequences if not favorably rectified.

Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of law students across the country with academic misconduct defense. Law students who want to safeguard their future should call 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 our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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