At Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), sound education is built on intellectual honesty. All students and members of the campus community are responsible for preserving the standards of academic integrity by conducting themselves with the highest standards of ethical conduct. CWRU School of Law also expects students to uphold values of honesty, transparency, and ethical behavior, not only to comply with University values but also to prepare students for the legal profession.
Students who do not act with honesty and integrity may face disciplinary action and severe sanctions from CWRU School of Law. Such sanctions could result in a gap in your legal education, setting back your progress toward a law degree. If your law school record contains a notation of academic misconduct, you may also struggle to find clerkships or employment, or pass the character and fitness evaluation with your state bar association.
If you face a charge of academic misconduct from CWRU School of Law, your future as a lawyer could be in jeopardy. Consider contacting a qualified student defense attorney-advisor to assist you.
Student Misconduct at CWRU School of Law
Every law student at CWRU must adhere to three codes of conduct:
- Model Rules of Professional Conduct adopted by the American Bar Association (when applicable)
- University Standards of Conduct and related policies
- Law School Code of Conduct
The CWRU Law School Student Handbook includes the Code of Conduct for law students, and it covers behavior related to academic honesty. It also contains disciplinary procedures for suspected violations of the Code of Conduct.
Examples of Academic Misconduct
The following behaviors are considered substantive violations of the Law School Code of Conduct at CWRU:
- Improper cooperation on work
- Misappropriation or defacement of property
- Improper knowledge of contents of an exam
- Giving false information or failure to assist enforcement of the Code of Conduct
- Unauthorized alterations to an exam or writing assignment after the deadline has passed
- Intentional misrepresentation regarding grades, class rank, personal references, employment records, activities, or other material facts
- Reuse of papers for two courses without notifying the instructor
- Intentionally violating exam policies, procedures, rules, or instructions
The Disciplinary Process for Misconduct at CWRU School of Law
At CMRU Law School, the Dean of the Law School has ultimate authority over disciplinary matters and sanctions, and may investigate and resolve issues directly. There is also a hearing process, whereby a three-member panel hears the case and recommends a decision and sanction. Also, CWRU Law School and the University may work collaboratively on disciplinary matters since students must follow University Standards in addition to the Law School Code of Conduct.
Any member of the law school community can bring evidence of violations of the Law School Code of Conduct to the Dean, Dean for Academic Affairs, or University Office of Student Affairs. If the Dean or Academic Dean receives the referral, they may appoint a faculty member to assist in investigating the charge or represent the law school if the matter goes to a hearing.
Either the Dean of Students or Dean for Academic Affairs will investigate a charge of academic misconduct. The investigation can involve interviewing the accused student(s), consulting witnesses, and gathering appropriate evidence. At this stage, students accused of misconduct will have the chance to address the allegation. The Dean investigating the matter may dismiss it for lack of sufficient evidence or formally charge the student with a conduct violation.
There are three options for resolving a charge of misconduct against a law student CWRU:
- Dismissal: The Dean may dismiss the charge if new factual information indicates the charge is unwarranted.
- Admission: After receiving a charge of misconduct, the accused student can choose to admit to misconduct and accept sanctions imposed by the Dean. Students may also admit to the charges but dispute the sanction, which results in a hearing to determine a sanction.
- Hearing: If the charge and sanction are not resolved by dismissal or admission, the matter will proceed to a hearing.
At a disciplinary hearing for Code of Conduct violations at CWRU Law School, accused students go before a panel consisting of one student and two faculty or staff members. Accused students have the right to be present at the hearing, question witnesses, present evidence, and have an advisor present with them. The advisor can advocate on behalf of the accused student at the hearing as well. The panel will determine if the preponderance of the evidence supports a finding that the student violated the Code of Conduct by majority vote. If the panel believes the student has committed a violation, it will also recommend sanctions.
If students disagree with the decision and sanction imposed by the Dean of the Law School, they may seek an appeal from the University. The University Student Code of Conduct requires students to appeal within five business days from the time the hearing decision is available. Students must send appeals to the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards.
Potential Sanctions for Academic Misconduct
For a violation of the Law School Code of Conduct at CWRU, students may face one or more of the following sanctions:
- Informal private reprimand
- Formal reprimand
- Disciplinary probation
- Indefinite suspension
Additional penalties can include:
- Grade reduction and withholding credit
How Can a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor Help?
If CWRU Law School charged you with academic misconduct, you might feel overwhelmed by the disciplinary process. A legal advisor who has dealt with university and law misconduct procedures will be able to advise you and help you build your defense. An attorney-advisor can also represent you if you have a hearing.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds law students nationwide with academic misconduct matters. If you want to protect your future as a lawyer, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.