Join the Honor Board | Pace Law School

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Join the Honor Board


Why should I join the Honor Board?

We are fortunate to have a student-run honor system at Pace Law School, and as a board member you will help maintain the honor and integrity of the law school student body. You will investigate and adjudicate suspected honor violations within the framework of the Honor Code, which is excellent statutory, prosecutorial, and trial experience.

Please do not think that our goal is to convict and punish students. Rather, our objectives are to ensure that the procedures are conducted fairly and objectively, that the regulations are followed, that the suspected students are afforded due process, and that confidentiality is maintained throughout the process.

The legal profession values the importance of giving back to the community. Serving on the Honor Board demonstrates a commitment to pro bono work as much as participating in a clinic or public interest program. Membership gives you the opportunity to work closely with faculty members, and is a prestigious item to have on your resume.


What does the Honor Board actually do?

We investigate alleged Honor Code violations, and work to improve the Law School ’s honor system. Specifically, the board gives presentations during orientation, conducts plagiarism discussions with the incoming classes, updates the Honor Code, maintains a website which contains the Honor Code and other relevant information, and chairs the Philip B. Blank ethics lecture series. We also form committees that focus on ways to improve the honor system and increase students’ awareness of it.


When are the meetings held?

Approximately twice a month during the academic year, on varying weekdays, from 5:00-6:00 p.m. to accommodate both day and evening students.


How does the investigation process work?

When a suspected Honor Code violation is referred to us (usually by a professor, sometimes by another student), the Vice President of Investigations appoints a committee of two Board members and one faculty member. They conduct whatever investigation is appropriate to determine if there is probable cause that a violation has occurred. If they determine that probable cause exists, then they will likely offer the student an informal resolution (similar to a plea bargain) and will determine the appropriate sanctions. 

The entire procedure, including the appeals process, is spelled out in detail in the Honor Code and in a flowchart available to all Honor Board members. We continually strive to improve the process.


What is formal adjudication?

If the student-defendant does not want to accept the informal resolution, they can request a formal hearing (similar to a bench trial). At the hearing, the original investigating committee acts as the prosecution and a panel of three Board members and two faculty members act as judges.


How will I know what to do on my first investigation?

There will be training for new members before the spring exam period. We will make every effort to pair new Board members with experienced ones, and there is a faculty member on each committee. In addition, you can ask questions of the Vice President of Investigations, and the President, and the Honor Board’s faculty advisor. You can talk to other Board members about the procedural issues as long as you do not discuss the substance of the case or reveal any identities. The Honor Board office contains helpful materials including videotape discussions on how to conduct investigations. 

It cannot be stressed enough that confidentiality is of the utmost importance. Even if a case is dismissed, you must never discuss it with anyone who is not on the Board, and you must never reveal the identity of a student-defendant to anyone outside of your investigative committee.


How much time does Honor Board membership require?

Investigating and adjudicating cases is our most crucial responsibility, and requires significant time and attention. Depending on how a case progresses, it can take a few days to several months to conclude. As a board member you should expect to serve on cases, to attend meetings unless there is a genuine conflict, and to perform committee work. Members who do not actively participate may be removed from the Honor Board.

New boards takes over on May 1 of each year, and you could be asked to participate in an investigation any time after that date. When forming committees, the Vice President of Investigations will take genuine conflicts into account and will not compel you to serve on a particular investigation. And unless there are exigent circumstances, investigations are tolled during final exam periods.


What are the qualifications for membership?

You must have completed, or be completing, your first year of law school, and you must be in good academic standing.


How do I apply?

The Honor Board distributes membership applications in March of each year. Fill out an application and submit it, along with a current copy of your resume, to the board. Selected new members are notified in April.


What should I do to prepare?

Visit the Honor Board website under Students – Academic Servicess – Honor Board. Read and become familiar with the Honor Code. Think of ways that the system can be improved, and how the number of incidents of academic dishonesty can be reduced.