At HenterLaw, we proudly represent university and college students throughout all of Virginia. It is life-changing when a student faces the disciplinary power of their college or university. All of a sudden, a student’s years of effort and dedication, not to mention years of tuition, are suddenly at risk. In our state-wide practice, we help guide our clients through this often complex, frustrating, and even frightening process.
With our experience in this narrow area, we can offer a depth of knowledge about College Law that few firms can match. Whether a student is simply looking for some basic advice about how to proceed or full representation before a disciplinary panel and appeals, we can help. Many times, university officials fail to follow their own procedures in attempting to discipline a student, whether for an honor code infraction or for academic reasons. Further, students sometimes have trouble persuading colleges that they deserve accommodations for their learning disabilities or other illness. Again, we can help.
Examples of how we have recently helped college students include:
- obtained contested accommodations for a student with a learning disability;
- successfully defended a student charged with plagiarism and other honor code violations;
- advised and instructed a student in effective advocacy in a hearing where attorneys were not allowed;
- successfully defended students falsely accused of Title IX and sexual assault violations;
- obtained readmission for a student dismissed from their college for academic reasons;
- obtained readmission for a medical student dismissed for alleged code of conduct violations;
- obtained significant settlement with a major university over due process and other civil rights violations;
- successfully appealed disciplinary action taken against a student for honor code violations;
- successfully defended multiple students accused of cheating on examinations;
- assisted students in getting conduct charges against them dismissed by university administration;
- successfully defended a student with mental health issues from judiciary and conduct charges; and
- obtained readmission for a student with a disability who had been dismissed because of the disability.
Below is a select list of colleges and universities against whom we have represented students:
- College of William and Mary
- Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM)
- Hampton University
- James Madison University
- Liberty University
- Longwood University
- Lynchburg College
- Medical College of Virginia
- Old Dominion University
- Piedmont Virginia Community College
- Roanoke College
- University of Mary Washington
- University of Richmond
- University of Virginia
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
- Virginia Polytechnic University and State University (Virginia Tech)
- Virginia Western Community College
- Washington and Lee University
*Due to Mr. Henter’s affiliation with George Mason University School of Law as an Adjunct Professor since 2003, we have an inherent conflict of interest with George Mason Univeristy and, thus, are not able to represent any clients who have potential claims or issues against that institution.
We offer initial consultations for a reasonable fee ($140 for half-an-hour, $280 for an hour) where we can review your case and let you know your options, as well as your rights. If you are interested in a consultation, please contact us here.
Answers to Common Questions
Question 1: I just found out that I have been charged with an offense by my college. According to the college rules, a lawyer is not permitted to help me. Is this true? What can an attorney really do to help me?
Answer: Not only is this a common question from people who contact us, it is a great one. Colleges almost universally try to prevent students from obtaining legal counsel with such rules. Many schools in Virginia have now passed procedures specifying that lawyers may not participate in a student’s hearing. In general these types of procedures are legal. However, many students and their families wrongfully assume that an attorney is not necessary or cannot help.
A College Law attorney who is aware of your university’s procedures can often be present during interviews by administrative or student personnel because many school rules only prohibit an attorney’s active involvement during the hearing or administrative trial itself, not at any other time. Further, while an attorney may not represent you during a hearing at such an institution, he or she can certainly still provide guidance and even sometimes attend the hearing itself as an advisor and still offer advice when permitted. For example, we frequently train our clients and their student representatives in proper ways to defend honor or other disciplinary charges, often even writing basic scripts to follow.
Colleges often claim that their reason for not having attorneys involved in such processes is because a hearing involving an honor charge or violation of a code of conduct is about a search for the truth, and they endorse the fiction that a hearing is therefore not adversarial. In our experience, it is always adversarial because a student’s reputation and education are being attacked. During these times, legal counsel is essential.
Question 2: Why do you charge a consultation fee when some other firms do not?
Answer: At HenterLaw, we believe in giving valuable advice to our clients. You will find that in most cases with firms that offer you a free consultation, all you are really getting is a chance to tell your story to a paralegal, or if you are lucky, a junior or inexperienced attorney. That person will then decide whether or not to help you, but you will rarely receive any advice or legal information. At HenterLaw, we do not think that is a particularly helpful way to conduct business.
In a consultation with Mr. Henter, he will not only tell you whether we are willing to help you, he will also explain the law to you. We will let you know what your legal options are, what the weaknesses of your case may be, and what you may need to do to strengthen your case. We are always pleased when clients, at the end of the consultation, say how helpful we were in explaining their case to them. We believe that a consultation with an attorney at HenterLaw is a real value to our clients, and it is worth a reasonable fee.
We firmly believe that regardless of the problem a student is facing, he or she should always consult a lawyer. Whether you are facing disciplinary action, want to obtain accommodations for your disabilities, or just need an educational consult to talk and see what can be done, please call us at (434) 817-1840 or contact us here. Thank you.
© 2016 HenterLaw PLC. Charles Henter is the responsible attorney for this website.
415 Park Street, Second Floor
Charlottesville, VA 22902