Student Complaints

The Law School's Director of Student Life, Mike Hall (Room 5101; phone: 608-890-0115; email: mahall2@wisc.edu), serves as a primary point of contact for students who have complaints or concerns.  In addition to consulting with students about their academic, personal or professional issues, the Director of Student Life is ready to help students with complaints they wish to make or concerns they wish to express.  

Such complaints or concerns might involve: instances of sexual or physical harassment or assault; unfair or ill treatment; grading grievances (Law School Rule 2.11); grievances regarding the conduct of Law School personnel (Law School Rule 12.01); petitions for relief from a Law School Rule based on unusual hardship (Law School Rule 12.03(1)(a)); appeals on the basis of alleged discrimination (Law School Rule 12.03(1)(b)); or concerns/complaints regarding some aspect of the Law School's academic program, including the Law School's Program of Legal Education (ABA Standard 510/ former Standard 512).

Students are advised that the above list is not exhaustive and are invited to bring significant concerns to the attention of the Director of Student Life (Room 5101; phone: 608-890-0115), the Associate Dean for Academic & Student Affairs (Room 5105; phone: 608-262-4041), or the Dean's Office (Room 5211; phone: 608-262-0618).

Grading Grievances: A student may challenge the nature, quality, or fairness of an examination or other graded exercise for a particular course, rather than his or her particular grade on that examination or exercise.  Instructors are expected to be scrupulously careful in constructing the exam, choosing grading criteria and applying those criteria, but there is no appeal from a grade on the allegation either that the grader misapplied the criteria for grading the exam, or that the criteria were themselves ill-chosen. For full information, see Law School Rule 2.11.

Grievances regarding the conduct of Law School personnel:
Students should bring to the Director of Student Life and/or the Associate Dean for Academic & Student Affairs grievances or complaints based on the actions of Law School personnel or committees in order to seek a resolution to the grievance.  If the grievance is not resolved, the student may appeal to the Law School's faculty Petitions Committee.  For full information, see Law School Rule 12.01.

Petitions for relief from a Law School Rule (allegation of unusual hardship):
Law School Rule 12.03(1)(a) provides that students may seek relief from a particular Law School Rule on the basis of an allegation of unusual hardship.  Students should first raise the matter with the Director of Student Life and/or the Associate Dean for Academic & Student Affairs to see if the matter might be resolved by the Law School Dean's Office. If the Dean's Office has considered the request and has determined that it is not empowered to act or will not act, the student may submit the matter to the Law School's faculty Petitions Committee.  Deadline: Note that the Petitions Committee will dismiss any appeal or request for relief, under §12.03(1)(a), brought more than 6 months after the occurrence of the event in issue.  For full information, see Law School Rules 12.03(1)(a), 12.03(2), 12.03(3) and 12.04.

Appeals on the basis of alleged discrimination:
Law School Rule 12.03(1)(b) provides that students may appeal to the Law School's faculty Petitions Committee based on alleged discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, or parental status of the student. Deadlines: Note that the various deadlines and procedures applicable to an appeal under Rule 12.03(1)(b) are set out in Law School 12.05. For full information, see Law School Rules 12.03(1)(b), 12.03(2), 12.03(3) and 12.05.

Complaints regarding compliance with ABA Standards:
ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools involve a variety of topics: the Program of Legal Education (Chapter 3) (e.g., Curriculum; Study Outside the Classroom; Distance Education; Study Outside the United States; Academic Standards; Academic Advising and Support; Academic Calendar; Bar Passage); the Faculty (Chapter 4); Admissions and Student Services (Chapter 5); Library and Information Resources (Chapter 6); and Facilities (Chapter 7). The ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools are on-line here:  http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/standards.html.

Communicating/filing a complaint or concern.  Students who wish to make a complaint implicating the Law School’s compliance with one or more ABA Standards and/or bring to the attention of the Law School a significant problem in this regard, should communicate in writing (via e-mail or letter) with the Director of Student Life, Mike Hall, whose contact information appears above.

Specificity.  A student making such a communication is asked, if possible, to specify which Standard they believe is implicated by the complaint or concern. However, any failure to do so will not prevent the matter from being addressed.

Timelines. A student submitting a communication with respect to the Law School’s compliance with the Standards will receive a written reply acknowledging receipt of the original communication within eight working days.  A final written response will be provided within two weeks of receipt, unless the matter cannot be adequately resolved within this time frame, in which case the student will receive regular written status updates thereafter until the matter is resolved.

Appeal Rights. Upon receipt of the final written response, or earlier in the event of non-compliance with the above procedures, a student may appeal the response to the Dean of the Law School.  In the event the matter also implicates relief from a Law School Rule, the student may submit a Petition to the Law Faculty Petitions Committee under Law School Rule 12.03(1)(a).





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