Student Defense – William & Mary Law School

Founded in 1779, the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary is the oldest university in the United States. Law school, however, is competitive, no matter how old the university in question is. Professors and university staff can issue accusations of academic misconduct against students anywhere, including at William and Mary Law School.

Students accused of academic misconduct while attending William & Mary Law School have the option, upon enduring these accusations, to undergo the university's hearing process with help from a professional.

With an attorney-advisor on hand, students and their families can better understand what behaviors fall under William & Mary Law School's understanding of academic misconduct and how best to address accusations.

Academic Misconduct at the College of William & Mary Law School

The William & Mary Law School relies on both a student honor code and a student code of conduct when addressing academic misconduct accusations.

The student honor system does not detail any specific behaviors students may not engage in while attending the law school. Instead, it drafts a general sense of how students are encouraged to behave – with the best interests, it seems, of their fellow students and the reputation of the university in mind. Similarly, the student code of conduct highlights the university's trust in its students while also elaborating on some of the freedoms students are allowed, including professor-determined restrictions to exams.

However, the university also elaborates on behaviors that constitute violations of its honor code within the student code of conduct. These behaviors include:

  • Lying – presenting false information to university representatives either in the misrepresentation of one's self, in cases of forgery, and when addressing investigations in which the student may be involved.
  • Stealing – using another party's work or documents belonging to the university without express permission and in an environment where it is deemed inappropriate to do so.
  • Plagiarism – the use of another person's thoughts, ideas, written assignments, or other data as one's own. Similarly, the failure to provide appropriate citations on a document that may require them.
  • Self-Plagiarism – the use of papers, exams, or other assignments that a student has already submitted to another class. Students may, however, use previously-completed assignments as new submissions upon receiving approval to do so from both professors involved in the process.
  • Unapproved Collaboration – working with a group of students, a teaching assistant, or another professor on an assignment, exam, or another submission meant to be completed individually.
  • Use of Inappropriate Materials – the use of the Internet or other unapproved academic or non-academic notes or projects to complete part of a class, an assignment, an exam, or another piece of academic work.
  • The Violation of Time Constraints – working over or outside of the time constraints placed on an exam or assignment.
  • Directions Violations – a student's failure to engage with an assignment or exam in the way expected by a professor or similar supervisory body.

The university also has a separate document available to students detailing rules and restrictions applied to parties in the midst of an exam. The university, however, also notes that individual instructors or professors may add or otherwise modify these statements under certain circumstances.

Penalties for Academic Misconduct at the College of William & Mary Law School

Sanctions placed on students accused of academic misconduct vary based on that student's existing disciplinary history and the severity of the accusations in question. With that in mind, the William & Mary Law School notes that the following sanctions may be applied to students found in violation of the student code of conduct:

  • Warnings
  • Loss of on-campus privileges
  • Required educational courses
  • Community service
  • Disciplinary probation
  • Disciplinary suspension
  • Permanent dismissal
  • Restitution
  • Revocation of a degree

Note, too, that William & Mary Law School may place a student on housing probation or deny a student accused of engaging in academic misconduct the right to live on the university's campus. The student code of conduct does not note whether or not a student accused of academic misconduct may lose school-sanctioned financial aid, but the ability of the school to deny students housing upon being accused suggests that such sanctions could be applied by bodies involved in a student's hearing.

William & Mary Law School's Academic Misconduct Hearing Process

Students accused of academic misconduct may address those accusations through a variety of means. William & Mary Law School allows students to resign from the university within 72 hours of their accusation. However, the university also allows students the opportunity to engage with staff – including the Dean of Students – in a hearing process. This process involves:

  1. The submission of allegations to the Dean of Students.
  2. An informational session hosted by the Dean to discuss the behavior in question.
  3. An information resolution hosted by the Case Administrator; a process which waives the rights of a traditional hearing.
  4. An alternative resolution, which allows the student in question to present their case to a panel of their peers as well as to an administrative counsel.

Students who are brought up on accusations of academic misconduct have the opportunity to appeal the board's conclusion, though the grounds on which to do so are limited to:

  • Discrimination claims
  • Notice of procedural irregularities
  • Claims of inappropriate sanctions
  • Lack of sufficient evidence
  • New materials coming to light

Bar Penalties for Academic Misconduct

Students accused of academic misconduct while seeking a law degree through William & Mary Law School may face additional difficulties when going to take the Bar Exam. Each student with a record of academic dishonesty will have their request to take the Bar Exam addressed individually. While some students may continue on to take the exam, others may be denied admission to the bar, and thereby fail to pursue a career in the legal field.

Law students, then, who are accused of behaviors that violate the William & Mary Law School's code of conduct may face consequences that are more than just immediate. Accusations of academic misconduct can put a student's entire future in jeopardy.

Getting In Touch with a Legal Advisor

Students accused of academic misconduct at William & Mary Law School have the opportunity to collaborate with an advisor in an attempt to overturn the university's accusations. Because so much is at stake, you cannot take academic misconduct allegations in law school lying down - Joseph D. Lento and his team at the Lento Law Firm can help students and families alike start building their defense.

For a case consultation, reach out to the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or via the firm's online form.

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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