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Avoiding Plagiarism   Tags: attribution, citation, legal writing, plagiarism  

Last Updated: Nov 6, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Advice from Professor Claire May

Our Professor Claire May discusses  the different forms of plagiarism and examples of how lack of intent can still result in misappropriation in the following document:



Plagiarism is defined in  Section II of the  Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Student Honor Code as “copying and representing as one's own the works of another in whole or in part regardless of whether such work is copyrighted; using the ideas of another without proper attribution; or any other effort to pass off the works of another, in whole or in part, as the work of the student.”  Plagiarizing is specifically prohibited by the Code and a violation is subject to penalties under Section IV.  Allegations of law school  plagiarism can affect a legal career: see Kerr v. Board of Regents, 15 Neb. App. 907 (2007); Doe v. Connecticut Bar Examining Committee, 263 Conn. 39, 818 A.2d 14 (2003).

Students can avoid the serious consequences of plagiarism by understanding all its forms, and recognizing the behaviors and habits that may lead to unconscious or unintentional appropriation of the work of another.  Establish meticulous, careful note-taking habits, recording all the significant citation information for your sources right from the outset.  Make sure that citation information is part of every draft you write so you never inadvertently fail to credit your source.  Learn the rules of proper attribution and the art of paraphrasing.

Please contact the Law Library's Research Services librarians during their Research Services hours, or via email to for additional help.


Copyright infringement by lawyers: What constitutes plagiarism?

In this video, Wisconsin attorneys James Peterson and Jennifer Gregor clarify the basic principles of copyright infringement and plagiarism as they apply to the work of lawyers. Courtesy of Wisconsin Bar Association.

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