Law School Discussion

Academic Probation and Organization Membership

Academic Probation and Organization Membership
« on: August 16, 2010, 07:41:26 PM »

Right now I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. My first year in law school did not turn out as I had planned. I consider myself quite bright and successful, outside of my 1L grades, which have landed me on academic probation. While I should have perhaps waited another year to enter law school, a terrible situation outside my control which I have finally overcome, was the main determination of my low grades. This problem in essence could have been anything as it is not my current dilemma.

The issue that I am facing currently is a leadership position that I entered in an organization at my law school last semester. The student code of conduct clearly states that I cannot hold such a leadership position with my current G.P.A. and academic probation status. This is now causing me great stress and potential embarrassment, on top of the fact that I actually earned such low grades. I have just completed a summer as successful summer associate for a firm excelling while learning a great amount during this period. I know that I want to be a lawyer and I will be successful. My future plans are not an issue for me.

Currently no one from academic affairs or my organization has contacted me about this situation which makes me wonder if this would ever surface next semester? However, hiding this would conflict with my core beliefs of honesty and playing by the rules. (Yes even though I want to be a lawyer). I am confident that I can improve my grades next semester and should be able to meet the requirements of the school and the organization. This would allow me to avoid potential blacklisting and shame from being a failure as a 1L and develop contacts that I most certainly will need in order to get a job after school is over.

So this is the dilemma that I face, I could break the rules which perhaps no one will know or care that I did and continue my role (albeit minor) with the organization while breaking the rules. The second option would be to follow the rules and my principles while facing shame of relinquishing my position and loosing potential networking opportunities?

I apologize for the length. I would appreciate any feedback on the matter, especially from anyone with experience within law school administration. The anonymity of this forum seems to be the only way to ask about this subject as I do not know if I can safely speak to any of my professors about this matter.

Thank you,


Re: Academic Probation and Organization Membership
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2010, 10:03:23 AM »
I know this is going to sound tough, but I would say you need to step down. Playing by the rules is  very important, especially if you want to be a lawyer. Also, it shows good character and personal fitness. You need to disclose the problem, however, especially if there is a situation surrounding the low grades, perhaps the institution can work with you to overcome this problem. However, hiding it is not a good option.

I am not in law school yet, but I can't imagine people would look at low grades as embarrassing, seeing how hard the subject matter is. I would say disclose the information, and just hope that nothing bad comes of it. If they kick you out of the position, so be it and just keep swimming (I know, I know, but its tough not to quote Finding Nemo in a situation like this) and hope everything turns out for the best.

I am a big believer in everything happens for a reason, it may not seem great now, but who knows, see where it takes you. Perhaps with the honesty they will allow you to stay in the position.

Re: Academic Probation and Organization Membership
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2010, 04:02:05 PM »
If the student code says what it says, you should just take the initiative and resign your position effective immediately. No need to email professors and ponder this for any length of time.  Assuming arguendo, even IF there was a waiver or some way to keep the position, would it benefit you in terms of increasing your grades in future courses?

Thus inter alia, it would probably be best to eliminate this superfluous activity and focus on the goal that every passing student from every ABA -accredited school arising out a legal education focuses on.

Re: Academic Probation and Organization Membership
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2010, 02:31:38 AM »
Nothing good will come of out a conflict with the honor code. The student org obviously isn't prestigious if you were an officer as a 1L. Give up the nonsense until your grades improve and then sign up again if you still think it's important.