Law schools hold their students to high standards to prepare them to enter the legal profession. Law students must also abide by the academic and personal conduct standards of their educational institutions. At the University of Virginia School of Law, law students must maintain elevated standards of academic, professional, and personal conduct according to both the Law School and the University. Students who fail to follow the conduct policies will face sanctions.
Misconduct as a law student could lead to much more severe repercussions than university sanctions, however. They could prevent you from obtaining your Juris Doctorate, keep you from bar admission, and ultimately derail your legal career before it's begun. Law school faculty at the University of Virginia take breaches of trust very seriously and will apply the appropriate disciplinary action if you're accused of misconduct.
When you're facing such a serious accusation, you need a legal advisor who can help you defend your case.
Misconduct at the University of Virginia School of Law
The University of Virginia School of Law's academic policies cover requirements for both academic and non-academic conduct. The policies apply to students as soon as they submit an application for law school up until the time they receive an official degree. Students can face sanctions for violating these policies no matter where the alleged offense occurred, including:
- During classes at the University of Virginia School of Law|
- During classes or work for credit outside of the Law School
- Participation in student organizations
- While performing paid or unpaid work for a law firm, government office, judge, or other organization
This list isn't comprehensive, just a few pertinent examples.
Examples of Student Misconduct in Law School
- Academic misconduct: Includes plagiarism, cheating, student collusion, falsification, fabrication, or any other offense that goes against the academic integrity of the institution.
- Technology violations: Using digital, wireless, or wearable technology to cheat or gain an unfair advantage; cheating or academic misconduct in virtual classrooms or distance-learning courses.
- Title IX violations and sexual misconduct: Offenses violating the University's Title IX, sexual harassment, quid pro quo harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and sex-based stalking policies.
- Criminal violations: Charges such as drunk driving, assault, drug possession, theft, trespassing, weapons offenses, or other crimes may result in severe repercussions with your law school as well as with the criminal justice system.
How UVA Law Handles Student Misconduct
According to Section VII of the University of Virginia’s School of Law, faculty have the right to apply sanctions when they find a student in violation of the misconduct policies. Faculty members may also refer the offense to the Academic and Professional Standards Committee (also known as the Student Conduct Committee), which includes the vice dean of the Law School as well as faculty members appointed by the dean.
If you're a law student at UVA Law and you've been accused of violating the academic or non-academic conduct policy, you will receive notice. You'll also be able to present your case to the Student Conduct Committee at a hearing. Both you and the Committee can bring evidence to the hearing, and both of you may inspect the other's evidence beforehand. Students may also bring an advisor or attorney to the hearing.
At the hearing, the Student Conduct Committee makes a determination and either imposes sanctions or clears the allegations.
Law School Process and University Process
It's important to note that the University of Virginia School of Law students must adhere to the policies of the law school in addition to the University's Standards of Conduct. The University has Standards of Conduct that every member of the University community must follow. If you're a law student accused of academic or non-academic misconduct, you will face the Law School's disciplinary process as well as the process with the University of Virginia's Judiciary Committee.
Law Student Misconduct and Bar Admission
UVA Law, like most institutions of higher education, keeps information about student discipline confidential. However, law graduates seeking admission to the bar generally must waive their right to confidentiality in past disciplinary matters. Such records factor into a state bar character and fitness evaluation, so the Law School will share disciplinary records with the bar if asked.
Students should also know that an academic or non-academic conduct violation could prevent faculty members or administrators from endorsing a student's character and fitness.
Sanctions for Student Misconduct at UVA Law
Faculty or the Student Conduct Committee may impose a suspension, required counseling, or other reasonable measures that respond to the student's conduct if they believe a student has violated the conduct policy.
The Appeals Process for Law Students at the University of Virginia
Section VII of the University of Virginia School of Law's academic policy doesn't mention an appeals process. If you violate University rules and come under the jurisdiction of a University disciplinary committee, you may have the chance to appeal.
Depending on which policy you're accused of violating, you can pursue an appeal after your hearing determination. If the Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights handles your case (such as for Title IX and sexual misconduct violations), you may submit a formal appeal after the hearing determination, and an Appeals Officer will handle it.
If your violation is academic, the Honor Committee will more than likely handle it in addition to the Law School. You may submit an appeal after your hearing, and if accepted, you will receive a new I-Panel.
Can a Student Misconduct Legal Advisor Help?
If you're a law student facing a serious misconduct allegation at the University of Virginia, you need a student defense expert by your side. With the Law School's Student Conduct Committee, you're allowed to have an attorney present at your hearing. Joseph D. Lento is a highly experienced attorney-advisor who will know how to build your defense, so you stand a chance against your institution.
Misconduct allegations shouldn't be taken lightly by law students. Future lawyers who want to protect their academic and legal careers should contact the Lento Law Firm at 888.535.3686 today to discuss their options.