Law schools hold their students to high standards to prepare them to enter the legal profession. As a law student, you must also abide by the academic and personal conduct standards of your educational institution. At the University of Virginia School of Law, law students must maintain elevated standards of academic and professional conduct according to both the Law School and the University. Students who fail to follow the conduct policies will face sanctions.
Academic 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 include conduct standards for law students to follow. 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
Examples of Academic Misconduct in Law School
- Plagiarism: Plagiarism is taking someone else's work and presenting it as your own. It could be submitting work verbatim from another source or taking material from two sources but only citing one. Plagiarism is a form of fraud that law students can receive sanctions for, whether the plagiarism was intentional or due to negligence.
- Cheating: Cheating is deceiving an instructor to appear as though you have more knowledge than you actually do. Cheating may be accessing unauthorized materials during an exam or submitting the same work for two different courses.
- Student collusion: Collusion is also known as “collaborative cheating” and involves more than one student's deception of an instructor. A common example is students working together to accomplish an assignment meant to be completed independently.
- Falsification or fabrication: Falsification is altering academic documents, such as transcripts, without permission. It's also forging the signature of an instructor or another university official. Fabrication may involve inventing fake sources or reference material to support a position or findings.
- Technology violations: It's considered misconduct to use digital, wireless, or wearable technology to cheat or gain an unfair advantage. Cheating or academic misconduct in virtual classrooms or distance-learning courses is also prohibited.
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 accused of violating UVA Law's 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 students may also bring an advisor or attorney.
At the hearing, the Student Conduct Committee makes a determination and either imposes sanctions or clears the allegations against you.
Law School Process and University Process
It's important to note that the UVA Law students must adhere to the policies of the law school in addition to the University's Standards of Conduct. If you're a law student accused of 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 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, however.
For academic misconduct, the University's Honor Committee will more than likely handle the case in addition to the Law School. You may submit an appeal after your hearing, and if accepted, you will have a new panel review the case.
Can a Student Misconduct Legal Advisor Help?
If you're a law student facing a serious academic 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 an 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. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped countless law students across the nation successfully resolve issues that could have derailed their legal career and he can do the same for you. 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.