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Academic Regulations & Rule of Professional Conduct

Academic Regulations

Current academic regulations and College of Law policies and procedures are published in the College of Law Student Handbook and any amendment documents (January 2018 Amendments) (both documents PDF).

The abbreviated Table of Contents below lists topics that may be of special interest to prospective and current students. Please refer to the Handbook's Table of Contents for a complete list of College of Law regulations, policies and procedures.

  1. Law School Administration
  2. Student Conduct: Policies, Procedures and Resources
    • 2.1 Ethical Standards
    • 2.2 College of Law Rule of Professional Conduct and Interpretive Comment (reprinted below)
    • 2.6 Procedures Relating to Academic or Other Professional Misconduct by a Student
    • 2.7 Procedures for Misconduct Governed by NIU Student Code of Conduct
    • 2.8 Other Applicable University Policies and Procedures
      • 2.8.1 University Policies re Human Rights, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct
    • 2.9 Information, Counseling and Other University Resources
  3. Curricular Requirements and Other Academic Policies
    • 3.1 Graduation Requirements
    • 3.2 Limits on Courses Counting Toward Graduation
    • 3.3 Standard Schedule of Required Courses for Graduation
    • 3.5 Academic Success Program
    • 3.6 Certificate Programs
    • 3.7 Co-Curricular Competition Credit
    • 3.11 Credit for Law Review
    • 3.12 Directed Research Projects
    • 3.13 Experiential Learning Projects
    • 3.14 Pro Bono Service
    • 3.15 Study Abroad
    • 3.16 Upper-Level Writing Requirement
  4. Registration and Related Policies and Procedures
    • 4.5 Withdrawals from a Course
    • 4.14 Withdrawal and Readmission
    • 4.15 Deferrals of Admission and Leaves of Absence
  5. Final Examinations and Grading Policies
    • see also Appendix B, Examination Rules and Guidelines
  6. Academic Standing and Related Policies and Procedures
    • 6.1 Academic Good Standing and Academic Deficiency
    • 6.2 Reinstatement and Readmission
    • 6.3 Academic Probation
  7. Records
  8. Graduation
  9. Admission to the Bar
  10. Miscellaneous Administrative Policies

College of Law Rule of Professional Conduct and Interpretive Comment

The following College of Law Rule of Professional Conduct and Interpretive Comment have been adopted by the faculty.

2.2.1 Rule of Professional Conduct

It is professional misconduct for a member of the law school to (1) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; or (2) engage in conduct that is proscribed by law and that reflects adversely on the member's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness to practice law in other respects.

2.2.2 Professional Conduct Interpretive Comment

The College of Law is an academic and professional institution integrally connected to the academic community of Northern Illinois University and closely tied to the organized profession of law. The members of the College, faculty, and students have adopted the Rule of Professional Conduct to recognize within the College the academic and professional values of the larger communities of which we are a part. The Rule is a mandatory rule of conduct, violations of which may subject a member to appropriate sanctions. Mindful that no rules of conduct are completely self-executing, all members of the College community should give serious attention not only to their individual obligations to comply with the Rule but also to their collective responsibility for ensuring compliance and initiating any necessary enforcement. With respect to the substantive content of the mandatory rule, Clause (1) of §2.2.1 incorporates the general professional rule on honesty and trustworthiness as well as a prohibition of all forms of academic misconduct. Without limiting the reach of the foregoing, academic misconduct includes

  • plagiarism,
  • unauthorized collaboration
  • the use of unauthorized material in connection with any paper or examination,
  • misuse of materials, including the secreting of library resources or the unauthorized use of library resources such as computerized research facilities, and
  • other forms of academic misconduct.

Other forms of dishonest conduct beyond what is usually thought of as academic would include, for example, misrepresentation in law school admissions proceedings or misrepresentations in connection with seeking professional employment. Beyond dishonesty and academic misconduct, society has identified other conduct that interferes with community needs and may violate the dignity and rights of other people. Clause (2) of §2.2.1 addresses such conduct, although the reference is to the proscribed behavior as such and does not presuppose any formal adjudication of criminality or illegality. While members of the College are, of course, personally answerable to the entire criminal law, they are professionally answerable within the College only for conduct that indicates lack of those characteristics relevant to membership in this academic and professional community – “fitness to practice law” in this formulation. Certain kinds of conduct may be offensive to some, but may only reflect immaturity, inappropriate responses to the pressures of professional education, or simply the diversity of ages and background of community members. When combined with legally proscribed conduct, however, such as destruction of property or harassing use of the telephone or the mails, and when engaged in with disregard for the dignity and rights of others, such conduct may raise serious questions of professional character, fitness, and continued membership in the academic and professional community, questions appropriate for a community response. On the other hand, some criminalized conduct raises no direct implication of dishonesty, disregard for individual dignity and rights, or fitness to practice law in other respects and is, accordingly, not appropriate for community sanction. This part of the Rule seeks to limit sanctions to conduct directly relevant to the College’s academic and professional goals. The Rule of Professional Conduct, like all rules, is one of reason. It should be interpreted and applied in light of this Comment, which is an integral part of the Rule, and in view of the Rule and Comment’s purpose — the maintenance and development of a thriving academic and professional community. Sanctions and procedures for enforcement raise separate questions not addressed by the Rule. Further, it is noted that conduct in violation of this Rule may also violate other rules, such as those embodied in the Student Conduct of Conduct of Northern Illinois University and law generally. Likewise, some conduct not covered by this Rule may be covered by the Student Code of Conduct or other law. While a certain emphasis on questions of deviations from the Rule is inevitable, the larger spirit behind the Rule should always be kept in mind: namely, the creation at the College of a community of scholars and lawyers committed to the best traditions and values of academic pursuits and the profession of law. The procedural guidelines for enforcing the College of Law Rule of Professional Conduct are described in §2.6.

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