Student Defense – UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law

The University of Nevada Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law (UNLV Law) considers students to have responsibilities after they're admitted. The legal profession demands the highest degree of trustworthiness, honesty, and public integrity, and students preparing to enter that profession should demonstrate these values. UNLV Law expects students to conduct themselves according to high ethical standards regarding other students, the Law School, the legal profession, and the public.

Students who do not uphold the principles of UNLV Law and conduct themselves professionally can expect consequences. The Law School may impose sanctions and communicate student instances of professional and academic misconduct to the state bar association. Students could struggle to find clerkships or employment due to misconduct during law school or may not pass the character and fitness exam with the state bar association.

If you've been accused of academic or professional misconduct by UNLV Law, your future as a lawyer may be at risk. Too much is at stake to go it alone or with someone not suited to the task. Having an experienced student defense attorney-advisor help you will best protect your rights and interests.

Student Misconduct at UNLV Law

UNLV has an Honor Code that all students must follow. It lists prohibited conduct, how to deal with possible violations, and potential sanctions for students found guilty of violations. The Honor Code applies to all UNLV Law students from the time they apply until graduation. However, former students may also face disciplinary action for behavior that occurred during their time as students.

Examples of Prohibited Conduct Under the UNLV Honor Code

  • Cheating or academic dishonesty
  • Plagiarism
  • Furnishing material information that a student knows to be false in the UNLV Law application process, on a resume, during an interview, or in an application for employment
  • Forging or altering transcripts or other university documents
  • Falsely signing another student's name
  • Making a material misrepresentation to gain an unfair advantage
  • Stealing, destroying, damaging, or hiding library materials, university property, or the property of other students
  • Unlawful conduct
  • Failing to report an incident that a student knows to be a violation of the Honor Code
  • Failing to cooperate with an Honor Code investigation or hearing
  • Making a false accusation of violating the Honor Code

How Does UNLV Law Handle Misconduct?

When someone suspects a violation of the UNLV Law Honor Code, the disciplinary process proceeds in five phases: Investigation, informal resolution, disciplinary review, formal hearing, and appeals.


Students must report suspected violations of the Honor Code to an assigning professor if applicable or to the Associate Dean. The Associate Dean investigates a suspected violation.

Informal Resolution

After their investigation, the Associate Dean will decide if the suspected violation has merit, and if it does, whether it's minor or should be referred to the Honor Code Committee. For minor violations, the Associate Dean can resolve the matter with students informally. The Associate Dean does not issue sanctions, but a letter describing the incident goes in the student's file. The letter can only be sent to the state bar association upon further review by the Honor Code Committee.

Disciplinary Review

If, after the investigation, the Associate Dean believes it's not a minor violation and that sanctions are appropriate, they will refer the matter to the Honor Code Committee. The Honor Code Committee includes three Law School or library faculty members and two Law School students. During the disciplinary review stage, the charged student and the assigning professor (if applicable) may submit statements to the Honor Code Committee regarding the violation. The Associate Dean may submit a statement concerning sanctions as well.

The Honor Code Committee reviews all the parties' statements and the Associate Dean's investigation findings and determines appropriate sanctions. At this point, students may accept the Committee's decision and sanctions, and once the Dean approves it, the matter is closed.

Formal Hearing

Students who do not accept the decision of the Honor Code Committee may appeal by notifying the chair of the Committee within ten days of the decision. Then, the Dean appoints a formal hearing panel and schedules a hearing. The hearing panel consists of the chair of the Honor Code Committee, two additional faculty members, and two additional students.

The Associate Dean, assigning professor, and the charged student may submit statements to the hearing panel three days before the hearing. At the hearing, the Associate Dean, student, and assigning professor may all question witnesses. The hearing panel will decide once the hearing ends and furnish a written explanation and recommended sanction.


If the charged student does not accept the hearing panel's decision, they may appeal within ten days of receiving the panel's decision. The appeals process follows the UNLV Student Conduct Code, which allows for the creation of an appeal panel. The panel can affirm the charge, impose greater or lesser sanctions, or order a new hearing.

Potential Sanctions for Misconduct at UNLV Law

Students who violated the UNLV Honor Code may face one or more of the following sanctions:

  • Warning notice
  • Probation
  • Reduction in grade or failing grade
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Degree revocation
  • Restitution
  • Loss of Law School privileges
  • Other sanctions deemed appropriate

The Dean may report violations and sanctions to a state bar association, another academic institution, prospective employers, or professional organizations.

How a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor Can Help

If you've been accused of an Honor Code violation at UNLV Law, you may feel overwhelmed by the formal disciplinary procedure. If it's your first time going through this kind of process, you may not know what to do or how best to protect your rights. An attorney-advisor specialized in student defense can advise you on the best way to conduct yourself and help you prepare your defense.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento of Lento Law Firm has helped hundreds of students nationwide in misconduct matters and can assist you with a disciplinary process at UNLV Law. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to help protect your future in the legal profession.

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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