You Can Challenge Medical School Dismissal
Medical program dismissal obviously devastates the hopes, ambitions, and dreams of the dismissed student. Dismissal ends not only the immediate pursuit of the medical degree and career but also threatens to close doors to related opportunities at other medical schools and in other medical programs. Medical student dismissal can also directly or indirectly affect the student's family, mentors, friends, financiers, and community. Medical doctors contribute enormously in many ways to a family and community, providing not just critical medical care but also leadership, investment, and wise counsel. Medical program dismissal dashes not only the student's dreams but also the community's anticipated benefits. Medical students have every good reason to fight dismissal. And fortunately, they can. Retain national school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's student defense team for aggressive and effective defense of medical school disciplinary charges that could lead or have already led to dismissal. Attorney Lento has the premier skills, passionate commitment, national reputation, and nationwide network to help you remain in good standing or gain reinstatement in the face of medical school dismissal.
Retain Qualified Medical School Dismissal Defense
With everything that a student has riding on medical school dismissal defense, the student should first ensure that the student retains a qualified, skilled, and experienced school discipline defense attorney. For your winning defense, you need the right attorney, not the wrong attorney. No decision you make in your medical school dismissal defense may be more important than your choice of legal counsel. Everyone knows that attorneys practice in some fields and not others. What many medical students don't realize is that premier school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has built a national reputation and nationwide network of school contacts from having successfully represented hundreds of college, university, graduate school, and professional school students. In attorney Lento, you have available to you a premier school discipline defense attorney with abundant academic administrative skills and experience. School discipline defense is a niche practice. Your local criminal defense attorney, practicing in the local courts, will very likely not have the academic administrative experience you need for a winning school discipline defense. Medical school disciplinary officials are a breed apart. They don't think, talk, or act like the lawyers, judges, police officers, and court officials with whom a local criminal defense attorney ordinarily interacts. Attorney Lento knows how to talk the medical school talk and walk the walk. Make your first move your best move by retaining attorney Lento for your medical school dismissal defense.
Medical School Dismissal Impacts
Medical school dismissal has several serious, even devastating, impacts. As your disciplinary proceeding unfolds, you shouldn't dwell morbidly on its potential impacts. Doing so won't be good for your mental or physical health, energy, and outlook. But at the outset, you do need to take frank stock of what might happen if you do suffer dismissal, so that you can devote the appropriate time, energy, and resources to your disciplinary defense. Don't, in other words, underestimate the impact and thereby ignore, delay, or underfund your winning defense. Medical school dismissal has enormous financial impacts. Not only do you lose the financial returns you expected from your future medical practice (less anything you can earn in another profession), but dismissal may also accelerate your school loans for you to begin their repayment. You will also lose future school loans, grants, and financial awards you expected to support you for the duration of your education. You may also lose access to school housing, transportation, cafeterias, medical care, counseling services, daycare services, fitness or recreational facilities, and other school benefits. Your spouse, children, or other dependents may lose corollary access, support, and services. Medical school dismissal can also affect your family, friend, mentor, and other social relationships. Don't underestimate the negative impacts. Instead, reduce the risks of realizing those impacts by retaining national school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's student defense team. You have made a huge investment in your medical education. Devote the resources necessary to preserve it.
Medical School Dismissal Requires Clear Grounds
Medical schools invest substantially in the students they admit into and shepherd through their program. Medical schools are not usually itching to dismiss students. To the medical school, a dismissed student often means an open seat that no longer occupies professors, fills clinical rounds, and generates tuition revenue. Medical school administrators thus ordinarily require clear grounds from their disciplinary officials before they will seek and support a student's dismissal. The good news is that you can generally expect your medical school to prefer that you persist through the program than to prefer your dismissal. The problem, though, is that medical schools don't always provide the aligned instruction and assessment, instructional resources and structure, and occasional individual relief that students need to meet all standards and complete the program. Medical schools also make their own mistakes and failures in treating students equitably and charging students fairly and accurately for actual rather than merely suspected or alleged misconduct. If your medical school is not living up to its commitments, has charged you with discipline for acts or omissions you did not commit, or has unreasonably failed to accommodate your individual need for appropriate relief, retain national school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's student defense team for your winning defense. Your medical education, degree, and career are worth hiring a supremely qualified attorney representative.
Common Medical School Dismissal Grounds
When medical schools seek to dismiss students, they usually do so on one of several common grounds. Students who do not timely complete the coursework, make the required course grades, and pass the required school assessments face academic progression dismissal. Academic progression dismissal, though, is only a first common cause. Medical school pressures and other factors cause some students to cheat, leading to academic misconduct dismissals. But academic misconduct is only one form of misconduct that medical students sometimes, if rarely, commit. Medical students can also face dismissal for behavioral misconduct like drug or alcohol abuse, weapons possession, fights or assaults, computer misuse or hacking, trespass, and property damage or theft. Medical schools must also punish and sometimes dismiss students for sexual misconduct, both Title IX sexual assaults and sexual harassment, and non-Title IX sexual exploitation. And finally, medical schools must also ensure that their students conform their conduct to professional standards under professional conduct codes. Academic progression, academic misconduct, behavioral misconduct, sexual misconduct, and professional misconduct are the five common grounds for medical student dismissal. Unfortunately, cultural conflicts can also contribute to medical school dismissals. National school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento is available nationwide to defend medical students facing dismissal on any of these common grounds or other uncommon grounds.
Medical School Dismissal Causes
Medical students can face many internal and external causes contributing to their dismissal hazard. Medical students can control or influence only some of those factors. And most often, a medical student's struggles contributing to disciplinary charges have multiple contributing factors and root causes. Causes and contributing factors matter in a disciplinary proceeding. Effective defense of medical student disciplinary charges often depends on the student's retained school discipline defense attorney accurately identifying all contributing factors. Winning defense doesn't just entail proving the charges false. Winning defense often entails giving the full context for the student's actions that led to the charges, including details of what the student was facing and experiencing. Consider as examples these common contributing factors or causes for medical student disciplinary charges:
- the student's serious illness or injury;
- study- or stress-related declines in the student's vision, hearing, concentration, or attention;
- temporary or episodic return of eating disorders, cutting disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, or addictions;
- serious illness or injury of the student's dependents;
- the student's pregnancy, delivery, and recovery;
- changes in the student's childcare responsibilities;
- new responsibility to care for parents or other adult dependents;
- divorce, separation, or other changes in the student's marriage or intimate relationships;
- serious illness, injury, or death of the student's close relatives;
- the student's mental depression or emotional disorder;
- the student's cognitive decline from other physiological factors;
- the student's nutrition, exercise, self-care, and other health habits;
- the student's unanticipated disabling reactions to food and medications;
- the student's loss of housing or housing repairs or transitions;
- the student's loss of employment or new employment demands;
- loss of employment, changes in employment, or loss of income by the student's financial supporters;
- the student's loss of loans or scholarships;
- bullying, harassment, or sexual harassment by classmates or other peers;
- domestic violence or intimate partner violence;
- theft, burglary, robbery, or other criminal activity against the student;
- jury duty, witness appearances, or other involuntary involvement in others' legal proceedings;
- unexpected and unfair isolation from peer study groups;
- changes in the student's school advisor or mentor relationships;
- changes in the student's medical school program;
- unavailable courses or clinical assignments;
- unstructured, non-specific assignments;
- subjectivity in grading and clinical evaluation;
- racial, socioeconomic, sex, disability, or other biases in supervisors and instructors;
- failure of the school to reasonably accommodate the student's disabilities; and
- sudden loss of other study resources and supports.
Addressing Medical School Dismissal Causes
Make no mistake: aggressive and effective defense of disciplinary charges by a highly qualified, skilled, and experienced school discipline defense attorney is a medical student's number one way to defend and defeat dismissal. But for the moment, that's not the question. The question is, instead, what the student can and should do to address the underlying causes of the charges–not to defeat the charges so much as to remove their original cause. Students facing disciplinary charges may think it's too late for them to address the underlying causes of or contributors to those charges. That thinking is wrong, and counter-productive. The opposite is true in many discipline cases. Even as the disciplinary proceeding moves forward and unfolds, the student best serves the student's own defense by doing everything reasonable that the student can to resolve underlying causes. National school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento provides winning defense representation. But winning the disciplinary case only to have the disciplinary causes still lurking may do little long-term good for the student. And having the disciplinary causes still lurking can also adversely impact the defense of the disciplinary charges. Disciplinary officials may be far less willing to resolve and dismiss charges if it appears that the student hasn't effectively addressed the discipline's root causes. Do what you can to remove those causes, letting attorney Lento help you find the means, resources, and methods to do so.
Medical School Dismissal Interests
One might assume that medical school disciplinary officials apply school policies dispassionately, without considering the school's interests. That assumption is naive. For a successful disciplinary defense, students facing dismissal, and their retained defense attorneys, need to think and act shrewdly, not naively. Medical schools have interests. Disciplinary officials are generally well aware of those interests when considering a student's dismissal. Disciplinary officials are also generally quite willing to pursue the school's interests, even occasionally at the unnecessary and unfair cost of the student's interests. Disciplinary officials can have their own agendas, whether appropriate or inappropriate. Consider these medical school interests lurking behind the face of, and potentially influencing the outcome of, your disciplinary charges:
- the school's interest in preserving the time, energy, and expense of its administrative staffing, to devote to other functions besides disciplinary proceedings;
- the school's interest in respecting the personal and other commitments of disciplinary officials in competition with work obligations, including vacations, medical treatment, dependent care, and recreational activities;
- the school's interest in protecting the loyalty, morale, and commitment of the professors or other school staff who have alleged grounds for the student's dismissal;
- the school's interest in proving to regulators, alumni, public interest advocates, and the educational community that the school takes seriously its obligation to protect the school's academic integrity and environment;
- the school's interest in avoiding public embarrassment and exposure for having mistreated students making disciplinary complaints or responding to false, unfair, and manipulative complaints;
- the school's interest in preserving alumni contributions, foundation funding, grant funding, and other federal, state, and private revenue streams by pursuing the agendas of those controlling the funding; and
- the school's interest in tuition revenue from the complaining students, students facing disciplinary charges, and students affected by misconduct or by disciplinary proceedings.
Accounting for Medical School Dismissal Interests
The foregoing description makes obvious that some medical school interests in a student's dismissal favor the student's retention, while other medical school interests favor the student's dismissal. Skilled and strategic school discipline defense counsel know how to articulate and advocate for the school's retention interests. National school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento knows how to present a medical student's defense to school disciplinary officials in ways in which those officials can discern and honor the school's retention interests. In other words, attorney Lento knows how to present the student's retention as a win-win proposition for school disciplinary officials. People tend to act in their own interests or for the interests of the employers or other organizations they represent. Self-interest is no surprise. We all exhibit it. Attorney Lento simply has the substantial experience and strategic insight to help school disciplinary officials recognize how and why student retention, rather than student dismissal, is in their interests.
Strategic Approaches to Medical Student Dismissal Defense
The particular grounds make all the difference in how your retained school discipline defense attorney must approach your case for a winning defense. A skilled and experienced school discipline defense attorney knows instantly that defending an academic progression dismissal is nothing at all like defending an academic misconduct dismissal. The strategic approach for reversing an academic progression dismissal has to do with proving extenuating circumstances and an achievable academic recovery plan. In contrast, the strategic approach for defending academic misconduct charges has to do with proving that the cheating did not occur or involved only other students, that the accused student's permissible study methods were not in fact cheating, and that other circumstances should mitigate any penalty. Successfully defending behavioral misconduct charges involves similar approaches but directed to the behavioral rather than academic context. Successfully defending sexual misconduct charges often involves challenging the credibility of false allegations while proving consent or other defenses. And successfully defending professional misconduct charges often depends on disputing false or exaggerated factual allegations or giving full context for the student's actions including the student's limited but growing knowledge of professional expectations. Each type of disciplinary charge involves a very different defense approach depending on different fact witnesses, expert witnesses, forensic investigation, and documentary evidence. National school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento knows the right strategic approach to successfully defend and win your medical student dismissal case.
Medical School Satisfactory Academic Progress Charges
To receive federal student loan revenue, medical schools must publish and implement satisfactory academic progress (SAP) policies. The University of Michigan Medical School's SAP policy is a good example. Federal SAP regulations require medical schools to adopt SAP policies requiring students to meet a minimum grade point average (GPA), minimum percentage of credits completed, and maximum program duration. Medical schools that can't prove to auditors that they have implemented and enforced their SAP policy can lose their federal funding, which would mean shutting the school down. That's how seriously medical schools take their SAP policies. Getting into medical school is one thing. Getting through it is another. Every medical student knows that they must do the coursework and make the grades. Not every medical student knows what happens when they don't. The school's registrar will notify the student when their declining GPA or frequent course incompletes and withdrawals imperil the student's ability to meet the school's SAP standards. SAP probation is a typical first step. If the student doesn't improve academic performance sufficiently or cannot do because of other circumstances, SAP suspension and expulsion results. Common triggers for academic progression charges include allegations that you:
- consistently failed to prepare for courses, labs, and clinical rounds;
- repeatedly failed to complete required readings and coursework;
- repeatedly failed to complete and pass block term or board exams;
- repeatedly withdrew from or failed to complete attempted courses;
- failed to enroll for minimum required credits in consecutive terms;
- failed to make satisfactory academic progress toward graduation;
- failed to complete clinical hours within the time allotted; and
- repeatedly engaged in substandard clinical performance.
Medical School Satisfactory Academic Progress Defense
If your satisfactory academic progress is in peril at your medical school, by all means, get the academic support you need to avoid SAP probation, suspension, and dismissal. Given your academic success to this point, you likely know the resources you need and study practices you must pursue to improve your academic performance. But simple attention and effort are not usually the medical student's problem leading to SAP peril. Instead, illness, injury, family obligations, or other extraordinary circumstances must usually have intervened and interfered, for the typically astute and earnest medical student to fall into SAP peril. Medical students don't just suddenly grow dim and start failing courses. Fortunately, the same federal regulations that require SAP policies permit medical schools to excuse deserving students from those policies based on extenuating circumstances. Sometimes, the SAP warning, probation, and dismissal are the result of school errors in calculating the student's GPA and credit completion percentage. Other times, the student may be able to appeal an unfair grade or remove an incomplete course from the student's record. More often, the student must show a good excuse for the student's admittedly substandard academic record. The student's serious illness or injury, or the unexpected demise of a close family member, are classic examples of extenuating circumstances. The student's retained school discipline defense attorney, though, must do more than show medical school officials good cause for excusing the student's lower academic performance. The student's SAP appeal, under procedures like those at the University of Michigan Medical School or a similar appeal policy at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine are good examples of appeal rights for adverse satisfactory academic progress decisions. , must also show a sound and achievable plan for the student's return to good academic standing. Retain national school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for a winning SAP appeal including an achievable academic performance improvement plan.
Medical School Academic Misconduct Charges
Academic misconduct is another common ground on which medical students dismiss students. Medical school is arduous, rightly considered to be by far the most difficult and taxing of all professional programs. Medical school is also competitive. Medical students are generally task-driven overachievers. Internal and external pressures on medical students to maintain not just acceptable but surpassing levels of academic performance can be so acute as to tempt students into cutting corners. Yet medical schools must maintain academic integrity if their grades and other standards are to remain trustworthy. Students who cheat their way to a medical degree risk patient injury from substandard skills and knowledge. Medical schools thus routinely publish academic integrity policies like the one at Harvard Medical School. Students who violate those policies may face disciplinary charges and dismissal. As earnest and committed to their studies as they are, medical students are not immune from the temptation to cheat or false and exaggerated charges of cheating. Medical student cheating scandals, like the one at Dartmouth Medical School, happen. Retain national school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's student defense team if you face medical school cheating charges. Dismissal or other discipline for academic misconduct can threaten the entire education and future careers of the smartest and most committed students.
Medical School Academic Misconduct Defense
Defending academic misconduct charges involves a very different approach from defending against satisfactory academic progress dismissal. In the latter case, the student's circumstances typically provide the excuse and justify the defense. SAP charges don't generally implicate the student's character and good intentions. In the former case of academic misconduct charges, though, the school's charges do directly call into question the student's good character. The student must, therefore, usually prove the school's allegations false or, if not false, unfair under mitigating circumstances. For example, in the Dartmouth Medical School cheating scandal mentioned above, several students were able to show exonerating context for their alleged actions to the point that the school relented in its threats of suspension or dismissal. Exam software had allegedly shown that the students referred to other online course materials to answer remote online exam questions. The school eventually accepted that was not the case or that the students had done so without transgressing clear professor restrictions. National school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has the substantial skill and experience, and the consulting forensic experts, to help you prove exonerating and mitigating evidence for a winning defense of academic misconduct charges.
Medical School Behavioral Misconduct Charges
Medical schools also maintain student codes of conduct that regulate many other student behaviors outside of the academic program but that could adversely impact the academic environment. Penn State Medical School, for example, incorporates the university-wide student code of conduct. That code prohibits a long list of misbehaviors including abuse or endangerment, harassment, weapons or explosives on campus, fire safety violations, alcohol or drugs on campus, false or fraudulent information to school officials, theft and possessing stolen property, disrupting school operations, failing to comply with university directions, forging or altering university documents, trespass or unauthorized use of school property, disorderly conduct, and hazing. Medical students may face disciplinary charges and dismissal for engaging in any of these misbehaviors and other behaviors interfering with the medical school program. Even unrelated off-campus misconduct, like felony conviction for assault or domestic violence, may be grounds for medical school dismissal if the crimes show that the student endangers students and on-campus personnel. Retain national school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento if you face medical school behavioral misconduct charges threatening your dismissal. Behavioral misconduct charges can be every bit as serious as academic progression and academic misconduct charges.
Medical School Behavioral Misconduct Defense
Many medical school behavioral misconduct cases are defensible with skilled and experienced school discipline defense attorney representation. Medical school officials may not know what to do with a student who engages in anomalous and potentially threatening behaviors, other than to charge the student with misconduct under the school's code. But anomalous behaviors often have an innocent explanation of which the school is not initially aware. The student may, for instance, have had an unanticipated medical event or reaction to medication. Or the student may have simply mistaken the circumstances so that the student's actions would have been a perfectly appropriate response if the circumstances had been as the student reasonably believed. Other times, students may have services and support available to them to address and correct the alleged misconduct without the need for discipline. And every behavioral misconduct charge isn't accurate. Medical school disciplinary officials can misidentify the involved students and mistake what actions actually occurred. Your medical school's behavioral misconduct charges may simply be false, requiring that your retained school discipline defense attorney prove them to be so, through cross-examination of mistaken witnesses and presentation of exonerating witnesses among other things. National school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has masterful skills and abundant experience for defending behavioral misconduct charges.
Medical School Sexual Misconduct Charges
Under federal Title IX regulations, medical schools receiving federal funding must take specific steps to prevent, punish, and correct certain forms of sexual misconduct affecting students. The University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School's Title IX policy and the Title IX policy at the Medical College of Wisconsin are good examples. Title IX sexual misconduct includes rape and other violent or offensive sexual assaults, domestic or intimate partner violence, stalking, and two forms of sexual harassment including quid pro quo exchanges of sexual favors for access to education or severe or pervasive hostile environments discouraging a reasonable person's access to education. Colleges and universities also commonly extend sexual misconduct protections beyond Title IX to include various forms of sexual exploitation. Medical schools that do not adopt and enforce Title IX policies can face individual liability for damages, regulatory sanctions, and loss of federal funding. Medical schools, like other college and university programs, are thus generally quite prepared to charge students with Title IX sexual misconduct on any complaint. Consider, for example, this report of a Michigan State University Medical School student expelled shortly before graduation for an alleged drunken night of sex three years before the expulsion. Retain national school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to aggressively and effectively defend your Title IX charges. Don't let sexual misconduct allegations derail your medical education.
Medical School Sexual Misconduct Defense
An effective defense to sexual misconduct charges is generally quite different from defending academic or behavioral misconduct charges. Sexual misconduct cases can involve mistaken identity or even made-up allegations in retaliation for relationship breakups or similar perceived or actual offenses. Just as often or more often, sexual misconduct charges depend on resolving sharp disagreements over what happened during the alleged incident. Who consented to what behavior, and what intimacy if any actually occurred, are frequently the disputed subjects. A winning defense thus often requires aggressive and discerning cross-examination of the complaining witness and any supporting witnesses. Timelines, text and phone messages, medical examinations, and other circumstantial evidence may also tip the delicate balance in the defense's favor. Don't assume that your honest statements will carry the day in your defense. To the contrary, your winning defense is likely to depend not only on your firm, clear, and credible testimony but also on your retained school discipline defense attorney proving the lack of credibility in the complainant's story. Retain national school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for the winning defense of Title IX and other sexual misconduct charges.
Medical School Professional Misconduct Charges
Graduating fit professionals is a core commitment of any medical school program. While academic integrity and decent behavior are important to a medical doctor's fit practice, the clinician's professional comportment is even more critical to the clinician's patients and employer. The American Medical Association publishes a Code of Medical Ethics in which medical schools routinely train their students. Medical schools incorporate the AMA code or adopt similar codes, as do physician professional licensing bodies. See, for example, the University of Florida College of Medicine's standards for professional behavior. A medical student who violates professional ethics in clinical students can endanger patients, create liability, and harm fellow professionals, all warranting dismissal from the school. Professional ethics is just as important or even more important in residency programs, which adopt the American Council for Graduate Medical Education's six core competencies. See, for example, the Graduate Medical Education program at Stanford University's School of Medicine. Medical graduates can face dismissal from residency programs. While professionalism charges often involve patient neglect or abuse, substandard treatment, or acting under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the AMA's Code of Ethics addresses all these professionalism areas:
- physician-patient relationships;
- consent, communication, and decision making;
- privacy, confidentiality, and medical records;
- ethics issues in genetics and reproductive medicine;
- ethics issues in end of life care;
- ethics issues in organ procurement and transplants;
- ethics issues in medical research and experimentation;
- community health obligations and issues;
- reporting unfit colleagues and other self-regulation;
- ethics issues in interprofessional relations; and
- ethics issues in financing and delivery of medical services.
Medical School Professional Misconduct Defense
Effective defense of professional misconduct charges depends on a different strategic approach from defense of academic misconduct, behavioral misconduct, or sexual misconduct charges. Professional conduct is a sensitive thing. Physicians, of course, possess a vast body of knowledge about anatomy, disease, medications, and other treatments. And medical students face enormous challenges acquiring and reliably applying that vast body of knowledge. But physicians also have complex and subtle customs, protocols, and conventions that shape their behavior and their expectations about how other physicians and medical professionals will behave. Medical students are students, still learning. Learning continues until their graduation, and indeed, until they complete their residency. Winning defense of professionalism charges sometimes requires proving the allegations to patently false. Someone, like an unhappy patient, may simply be lying. But just as often or more often, winning defense of professionalism charges requires proving that the medical student performed as reasonable supervisors would expect, with limited experience and still-developing knowledge. Some clinical supervisors misjudge student growth and learning for student inattention or disrespect. Winning defense often requires showing how effective the student has been in all other areas outside of the one incident or few incidents triggering the unfair professionalism charges. Retain national school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for your winning defense to medical school professionalism charges related to any of the following common disciplinary triggers or other events and incidents:
- disputes over patient consent to the medical care you provided;
- claims that you exceeded the scope of patient consent without an authorizing emergency;
- that you allegedly recommended or provided unnecessary medical testing or services;
- that you allegedly misrepresented the therapy, treatment, or procedure to the patient;
- that you provided medical care or attempt to provide medical care while impaired by drugs or alcohol;
- that you abandoned or ignored a medical patient under your care without stabilizing the patient's condition;
- that you refused critical emergency care when on duty to provide it;
- that you failed to report abuse or neglect of a child patient as law requires;
- that you harassed nurses, aides, or other subordinates, disrupting care;
- that you used your medical services to coerce undue advantages from patients; or
- that your conduct in other ways brought the medical profession into ill repute through acts of violence, ignorance, offense, or passion.
Medical School Due Process
Due process is a foundation of American law and procedure. Due process is simply an assurance that the disciplinary system will treat an accused student fairly by giving the student clear notice and explanation of the charges plus a reasonable opportunity for the student to tell the student's side of the story. Due process may require other protections like an unbiased decision maker who has no clear conflicts of interest and an opportunity to appeal erroneous or unsupported decisions to a separate reviewer. But notice and opportunity for hearing are due process's central tenets. Public medical schools owe their students due process before dismissal, as a consequence of student Fourteenth Amendment constitutional rights. Private medical schools likely owe due process out of their tuition contract and policy assurances. If you face medical school disciplinary charges threatening your dismissal, your due process rights are what most protect you against arbitrary and capricious dismissal. If you have already suffered medical school dismissal, your due process rights are likely the greatest vehicle for your retained school discipline defense attorney to overturn your dismissal and win your reinstatement. Retain national school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to strategically invoke and assert your due process rights. Without due process, your successful defense might not be possible.
Medical School Dismissal Procedures
Medical schools fulfill their constitutional and contractual due process obligations by adopting and implementing fair dismissal procedures. Your medical school likely has some written disciplinary procedures, either in the school's various conduct codes or in a separate policy. Boston University School of Medicine's disciplinary procedures, a subsection of its Student Disciplinary Code, are a good example. If your medical school doesn't publish procedures, it will still very likely have internal procedures or procedural customs that it follows in discipline cases. Disciplinary procedures can vary somewhat from medical school to medical school. But to satisfy due process, they all should have features like the following procedures that Boston University School of Medicine promises to its students facing disciplinary charges:
- allegations of medical student misconduct go to Associate Dean of Student Affairs trained in disciplinary procedures and charged with their fair implementation;
- the Associate Dean of Student Affairs must promptly notify the accused student in writing of the detail of the misconduct allegations including describing the evidence against the student;
- the Associate Dean of Student Affairs must conduct a fair investigation including interviewing the accused student and other witnesses, gathering relevant documentation, and preparing an investigation report;
- the Associate Dean of Student Affairs may dismiss unsupported complaints;
- the Associate Dean of Student Affairs may also informally resolve the matter if the accused student agrees to the resolution;
- the Associate Dean of Student Affairs refers supported and disputed complaints to the Medical Student Disciplinary Committee for hearing;
- after notifying the accused student of the time and place of hearing, the Medical Student Disciplinary Committee holds a hearing at which witnesses for the school and student testify;
- the accused student may bring the student's retained school discipline defense attorney to the hearing to assist the student;
- the accused student may cross-examine the school's witnesses if the hearing chair determines cross-examination to be necessary for a fair hearing;
- the Medical Student Disciplinary Committee must report its decision in writing to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs who forwards the writing to the accused student;
- the written decision must include factual findings, judgments, and any sanctions addressing each of the disciplinary charges; and
- the accused student has the right to appeal the Medical Student Disciplinary Committee's decision to the Dean of the medical school and, if not satisfied with the Dean's decision, to the university Provost.
Invoking Medical School Protective Procedures
Medical school disciplinary procedures are not self-executing. Your retained school discipline defense attorney must instead strategically invoke those procedures if your representation is to result in a winning defense. Retain national school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for these premier academic administrative skills. Invoking protective procedures effectively and strategically can involve many actions by your retained school discipline defense attorney but often involves steps like the following:
- your attorney receives, reviews, and evaluates the notice of disciplinary charges against the medical school's student code of conduct or other policies, to ensure that the charges are sufficient under the letter, spirit, and intent of those policies and the school's educational mission;
- your attorney discovers, obtains, and reviews the school's evidence, if any, supporting the disciplinary allegations to determine which allegations have support and which allegations lack support, for which your attorney seeks prompt dismissal;
- your attorney assists you in drafting an accurate and comprehensive answer to the disciplinary charges, denying inaccurate and unsupported allegations while raising appropriate affirmative defenses;
- your attorney communicates with school disciplinary officials requesting and requiring that the school follow its published and customary protective procedures, ensuring your fair treatment and your attorney's ability to defend the charges;
- your attorney helps you identify, obtain, organize, interpret, and present exonerating evidence disproving the charges and mitigating evidence, reducing or eliminating any sanction for supported charges;
- your attorney seeks early informal resolution and dismissal of the charges by supplying the school with exonerating and mitigating evidence and by advocating for creative, win-win resolutions that meet the interests of all parties, including your reinstatement with a clean disciplinary record;
- for charges that proceed to a formal hearing, your attorney helps you prepare for the hearing, identifying and preparing witnesses to attend the hearing, identifying and organizing documentary evidence to present at the hearing, and preparing cross-examination questions for adverse witnesses;
- your attorney communicates with school disciplinary officials to ensure that the hearing occurs at a time and place when you, your attorney, and your witnesses are available to attend in person;
- your attorney reviews the hearing decision makers with you and others to ensure that they can make an unbiased decision free of conflicts of interest, absent which your attorney helps you seek their disqualification and removal in favor of unbiased decision makers;
- your attorney attends the hearing to advise and assist you;
- your attorney reviews, analyzes, and evaluates the hearing decision to ensure it meets the school's procedural requirements and for appeal grounds on any adverse rulings;
- in the event of an adverse decision, your attorney obtains, reviews, and analyzes the hearing record to help you prepare and present timely and compelling appeal arguments and briefs for reversal of any adverse decision and sanctions; and
- your attorney communicates and negotiates with school oversight officials for alternative special relief overturning any remaining record of discipline or any sanction.
Medical School Misconduct Dismissal Appeals
After the initial disciplinary hearing, some medical students initially face discipline that they should not face. The student's preparation, the student's decision to retain or not retain qualified school discipline defense counsel, bias or conflicts of interest on the part of decision makers, the hearing panel's refusal to hear witnesses or permit appropriate cross-examination of witnesses, decision maker mistakes in determining which charges have supporting and convincing evidence, and bias or unfair procedural shortcuts by disciplinary investigators or officials can all produce unfair hearing outcomes. Correcting those and other errors are the purpose of appeal rights. Your medical school very likely offers you an appeal from an adverse decision to suspend or dismiss you from the school. See, for example, Harvard University Medical School's designation of appellate review responsibilities for the school's several appeal procedures. Don't attempt your medical school dismissal appeal on your own, even if your school's procedures suggest that all you need to do is submit an appeal letter. Because appellate decision makers usually know, trust, and respect the hearing panel members who made the dismissal decision, your appeal must demonstrate compelling reasons to reverse those school officials. Retain national school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for your winning medical school dismissal appeal.
Medical School Misconduct Appeal Procedures
An appeal requires more than just a complaint to some school official that the hearing panel made a bad decision. Instead, your appeal must closely follow and comply with your medical school's appeal procedures. Medical schools typically publish relatively clear and detailed appeal procedures. Boston University School of Medicine's disciplinary procedures are a good example. Those procedures require the dismissed student to submit the written appeal to the medical school's Dean within fourteen days of receiving notice of the dismissal decision. File the appeal too late, and the Dean may lack authority to even consider it. The Dean requests and reviews the hearing record, which should include at a minimum the hearing decision, recording or transcript of the hearing testimony, and hearing exhibits. The Dean may affirm the decision, modify it, or reverse it to reinstate the dismissed student. The Dean may alternatively send the case for further investigation. As indicated above, Boston University School of Medicine's policy permits a second appeal to the university Provost who follows similar procedures. Retain national school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's student defense team for your winning appeal of medical school dismissal.
Attorney Role in Medical School Misconduct Appeals
Medical school dismissal appeals require sophisticated academic administrative skills. Don't retain an unqualified local criminal defense attorney or civil litigator for your medical school appeal. You have far too much riding on your appeal to entrust it to unqualified hands. Appellate work of any kind tends to be highly technical, requiring substantial research, record review, argumentation, and briefing. But medical school appeals require even more specialized academic administrative knowledge and skill than the ordinary court appeal. Your retained school discipline defense attorney must first order and obtain the hearing record. Your retained attorney must then scrutinize that record, citing and summarizing it in a written appeal brief that points out the specific and compelling errors. Your retained attorney must also show how those errors violated law, rule, regulation, or procedure and how those errors changed the hearing's outcome. Your medical school's appeal procedures may also limit the grounds on which you may appeal, so that your attorney must show how your appeal meets one or more of those grounds. And your attorney must do all these things within the very short time period your school's appeal rules allow, or convince the school to grant a time extension. Don't attempt an appeal on your own, and don't hire unqualified counsel. Instead, retain national school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for your winning appeal of medical school dismissal.
Alternative Relief for Medical Student Disciplinary Defense
National school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento provides another service that few, if any, other attorneys are able to provide. Because attorney Lento has successfully represented hundreds of students nationwide in all kinds of disciplinary defense, attorney Lento has developed a national reputation. Attorney Lento has also developed a nationwide network of contacts and relationships in school general counsel offices and other oversight bodies. Oversight officials have authority to reverse and correct decisions of other school officials that expose the school to litigation risks, regulatory violations, and public embarrassment. When a student goes unrepresented through the school's administrative procedures, attorney Lento's national reputation and network allow him to reach out to oversight officials, even after the unrepresented student has lost all hearings and appeals. If you retain attorney Lento at any stage of your proceeding, even after it concludes at the school, attorney Lento may be able to negotiate your reinstatement. Court litigation may be another option attorney Lento can aggressively and effectively pursue. But attorney Lento's work through oversight channels has provided many students with reinstatement and other relief. Don't give up on your matter until you have contacted and retained attorney Lento. As a last resort, attorney Lento may negotiate a more-favorable disciplinary record that may allow you to gain admission to another medical school or another desirable graduate or professional program inside or outside the healthcare field.
When to Retain Your School Discipline Defense Attorney
Timing is everything. Indeed, in medical school disciplinary proceedings, time is of the essence. Firm, strategic, aggressive, and targeted actions taken early in the proceeding can promptly and favorably resolve the proceeding or set the proceeding up for your success sooner or later. Ignoring the proceeding, even for a time, or procrastinating and delaying your responses to the proceeding, can lead to ever greater time, trouble, and expense, and to progressively worse outcomes. You should retain national school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's student defense team as soon as you know that your medical school is charging you with discipline that could lead to your dismissal. You may not know until you receive the school's written notice, in which case you should immediately retain your school discipline defense attorney. But you may know even before receiving the written charges, in which case you should retain your school discipline defense attorney then. Early in the proceeding, every day counts. Early intervention can head other things off at the pass. But if you do delay and don't promptly retain defense counsel, you are still better off to retain your school discipline defense attorney the moment you realize that you need aggressive and effective attorney representation. No matter your stage of the disciplinary proceeding, get the qualified help you need. It's not too late to contact and retain attorney Lento.
Other Steps to Take for a Winning Defense of Charges
While promptly retaining national school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento should be your first move and is your best move, you have other things you can do to contribute to your winning defense. Your retained attorney will need your complete information. You should, therefore, promptly gather, save, organize, and retain everything that in any way may have to do with your disciplinary proceeding. Attorneys call this action a litigation hold. Don't throw away or delete any material evidence, not handwritten notes, not emails, not computer files, and not text messages. Save everything. Duplicate and organize it for your retained defense attorney. In doing so, be sure that you share everything with your retained attorney. Don't just tell your attorney the good things. Especially tell your attorney the things you believe could hurt your defense so that your attorney can help you evaluate your defense soberly. Above all, cooperate with your retained attorney. Promptly answer your attorney's emails, texts, and calls. You likely have a lot of other things to do, including continuing your medical studies if your school permits it during your disciplinary proceeding. But give top priority to helping your retained attorney pursue your winning defense. If you have questions about what else to do, such as whether to speak with school officials, law enforcement, or other investigators, ask your retained defense attorney what to do before you act in a way that may harm your school discipline defense. Rely on your professional training to consult the professionals you need to be successful. You wouldn't treat yourself medically without consulting a fully qualified physician. Don't take your disciplinary matter into your own lesser-informed hands without first involving your retained school discipline defense attorney.
Managing During Medical School Disciplinary Proceedings
Your life goes on while you are involved in medical school disciplinary proceedings. Depending on the grounds for your disciplinary charges, your school may permit you to continue with your studies, in which case those studies should absorb most of your effort and time apart from your support of your retained attorney's disciplinary proceeding defense. But the fact of your disciplinary proceeding may require you to manage other new issues. Who, for instance, should you tell about your disciplinary charges? If you are still enrolled and studying, you may better choose not to speak about your disciplinary charges other than with those family members, friends, mentors, or other supporters who could provide you with resources, advice, or other extra support until the proceedings conclude in your favor. Sometimes, it's better to just mind your own business and keep slogging than to spread bad news around within your community. Certainly, disclose truthfully and fully when law, rule, regulation, or policy requires you to do so, such as to licensing boards or residency programs. But don't go out of your way to make trouble for yourself. Your landlord and neighbors probably need not know. Another thing you should do besides be cautious about speaking of your matter is to do the best you can to maintain your physical and mental health. Maintain your diet, exercise, faith commitments, and other supports as best you can under the circumstances. Love your family and hug your kids. Behave like the responsible adult you are, not like the untrustworthy or unreliable medical student the school alleges you may be. Keep a level head, and soldier on, listening to your retained attorney's other counsel and advice.
Premier Medical Student Dismissal Defense
National school discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's student defense team are available for your medical school dismissal defense across the nation in all states and regions. Attorney Lento has even successfully represented students at Caribbean medical schools. Attorney Lento has successfully represented medical students, other graduate and professional students, and students in all kinds of programs and at all levels, from California to New York, Illinois to Texas, and all points in between. Attorney Lento has not only developed the professional knowledge, skills, and experience, and maintained the personal passion and commitment, for winning defense. Attorney Lento has also built an expert team of consulting professionals, forensic analysts, former law enforcement officials, administrative staff, and highly experienced attorney litigators to support the Lento Law Firm's student defense. When you retain attorney Lento, you get the benefit and services of his entire student defense team. You also get the benefit of attorney Lento's nationwide network of professional relationships, contacts, and services. Don't delay, and don't hire an unqualified local criminal defense attorney. Get the premier help you need for winning your medical student dismissal defense case. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now to retain attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm's student defense team.