Student Defense - University of Wyoming College of Law

Students walking to classes at the University of Wyoming College of Law in Laramie, Wyoming, see the Rocky Mountains on the horizon. Besides the view, the University of Wyoming College of Law boasts top-flight experiential learning, with eight clinics and practicums, an externship program, and simulation courses. PreLaw Magazine recognized UW College of Law as “one of the best schools for practical training” in its Spring 2022 issue.

In general, lawyers in training are held to higher academic integrity standards than students in other fields. The students at UW College of Law are no exception, and for good reason; the outcome of court cases impact the people involved for life. UW College of Law alumni are even arguing cases in front of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

If you're under review for academic misconduct at UW College of Law it's critical you work with an attorney-advisor to obtain the best outcome. One mistake shouldn't spoil your lifelong dreams.

Academic Misconduct at the University of Wyoming College of Law

All UW Law College students agree to abide by the school's honor code as a condition of admission and continued enrollment. The College says the code represents its mission to prepare students for the “high level” of professional competence, ethical standards, and integrity required in the legal profession.

The honor code prohibits conduct such as:

  • Failing to disclose “material facts” on applications for scholarships and admissions.
  • “Unauthorized communication” during an exam or assignment.
  • Continuing to write after an exam time is closed.
  • Knowingly misrepresenting hours spent working on an academic endeavor or activity like an internship
  • Plagiarism

The Disciplinary Process for Academic Misconduct at UW College of Law

Students accused of academic dishonesty in their coursework or other academic activities (e.g., clinics and competitions) are referred to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. Accusations do not immediately trigger an investigation if:

  • The accused student admits to the allegation
  • The alleged acts are minor and would not typically result in sanctions like a grade change or expulsion

An Honor Code violation linked to a paper will be graded independently of the investigation but marked incomplete until the case is resolved.

Initial Process

The Honor Council, made up of three full-time faculty members, is responsible for investigating accusations of academic misconduct. In this phase, the Council provides the accused with the following:

  • A written summary of the allegation
  • A copy of the Honor Code, Student Code of Conduct, and Academic Dishonesty Regulations
  • An opportunity to make a statement (statements must be made voluntarily and will not be solicited)

The completed investigation is then submitted to the dean or the dean's designee. The report includes:

  • A written account of procedures taken
  • A summary of any difficulties in the investigation
  • Relevant evidence
  • Preliminary conclusions
  • Recommended action
  • Recommended sanction

Right to a Hearing

Students can request a hearing to contest the accusations and sanctions, or a hearing might be arranged based on the seriousness of the allegations. The hearing provides a forum for both sides to present witnesses and evidence based on what the investigation produced. An attorney-advisor is allowed at the hearing to provide guidance to the accused student.

Based on the “preponderance of the evidence,” the hearing officer enters three findings:

  • No violation of the Honor Code, and dismissal of the charge
  • A violation of the Honor Code and concurrence with the recommended sanction
  • A violation of the Honor Code with modification of the recommended sanction

Students have 30 days to appeal a charge upheld by the investigation.

Potential Sanctions

After the hearing stage, the case moves to the provost and vice president for academic affairs. Any changes to the sanctions recommended by these two officers can be “no harsher” than those recommended by the hearing officer.

Possible sanctions for academic misconduct include:

  • Extra or alternative work
  • An F or U (unsatisfactory) grade
  • Probation
  • A letter of reprimand
  • Suspension or expulsion from the university

Suspension and expulsion are the most serious consequences for academic honor violations and must be justified with a written rationale. That rationale should include specific findings, the nature of the offense, and the student's record. The UW College of Law president reserves the right to approve or modify that document.

Appealing Sanctions

Students have 30 calendar days after the hearing to file an appeal. A written response is required within 15 days. The provost and the vice president for academic affairs can ask for clarification, either written or oral.

UW College of Law only grants an appeal for three reasons:

  • Written notice of a hearing opportunity was not provided to the student.
  • The report fails to describe any act by the student that could be interpreted as an Honor Code violation.
  • The findings were not supported by sufficient evidence, or the outcome is the “result of prejudice toward the student, (an) arbitrary or capricious evaluation, or capricious treatment.” If the student claims this is the case, they must provide specific examples.

If the appeal is upheld, the original finding is vacated and the student's record expunged.

The Role of a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor

All of this adds up to a complex and confusing series of steps. One misstep could have permanent and serious consequences for the career of an up-and-coming young lawyer. That's why it's so critical to have an experienced student defense advisor at your side guiding you through the entire process.

Team up with an attorney-advisor with expertise in law student defense who can chart your best course forward. They'll help you build your case, advocate for your rights as a student, and uncover details you might have otherwise overlooked. Hundreds of law students throughout the country have overcome allegations of misconduct thanks to the expertise of Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm. If these kinds of allegations are threatening your future career as an attorney, reach out to the Lento Law Firm today by calling 888-535-3686 or scheduling a consultation.

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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