Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

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Chi-Town-911
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby Chi-Town-911 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:42 pm

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Last edited by Chi-Town-911 on Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cavalier1138
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:06 pm

nunumaster wrote:
HuntedUnicorn wrote:
grades?? wrote:Im in the minority here, but I have no tolerance for plagiarism in school. I 100% understand what happens in practice, but if the assignment doesn't allow copying, then this person should be held accountable. Now, I wouldn't necessarily out myself to the professor. Send an anonymous letter or something suggesting what happened. That way there wont be any backlash on you. Sounds scummy on my part I know, but if the assignment didn't allow plagiarism, then you should say something.


This is why law students and lawyers are the fucking worst.


This. Even if he did, it's none of your business OP. Try hard law students are the fucking worst.


Yeah! I hate when people actually respect the rules and act like decent human beings while expecting others to do the same. Those people are fucking awful!

rdawkins28
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby rdawkins28 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:09 pm

Seems like if a student found a brief that is so on point with his argument that he can just copy-and-paste 10 paragraphs out of a 12-paragraph assignment, he should be commended. Don't think I've ever found any single brief or decision that I can actually copy-and-paste 10 paragraphs.

And the prof should have found a better problem for the students to work on, or needs to find a new problem for them to work on.

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lavarman84
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby lavarman84 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:18 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
lawman84 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Burlington4174 wrote:I vote no. First, it is not even clear that your "opposing counsel" did anything wrong.

I'd be quite surprised if the class rules and/or the school honor code didn't directly prohibit what the OP's classmate did here.

That said, I'm not sure I'd bring it to anyone's attention, for the reasons you stated. But I don't think there's any question that the student did something wrong.


I don't know. I don't really feel like what they did is wrong. Seems like a person just trying to get through the class by doing the bare minimum...like many of us.

This is dumb. Of course cheating is often trying to get by doing the bare minimum. That doesn't make it okay.

(To be clear, I agree that in practice this wouldn't matter, although I usually try to at least do a tiny bit of paraprhasing. But legal writing class doesn't go by practice rules so I would consider this against class rules. All that said, I don't think it's worth reporting in a discretionary reporting universe. If the brief was so directly on point the prof may have used it in prepping the assignment and will see what happened anyway.)


But I don't think of this as blatant cheating. To me, it looks like what actual lawyers advise you to do. Find a template, don't waste time reinventing the wheel, and get the work done right.

It's not like he took a quote from a case and passed it off as his own original idea. I think this issue is less black and white than some are making it out to be unless the syllabus or the professor expressly disallowed students from doing something like this.

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Chi-Town-911 wrote:OP here. To clarify, our school has a general no-plagiarism policy that definitely fits what happened here. Neither the syllabus nor the assignment gave any guidance about whether it's ok to copy, but I imagine that copying 10 paragraphs word-for-word in a a 12 paragraph brief would be over the line. BUT it's a practical legal writing class, and who hasn't copied the definition of "document" from the last five interrogatories they sent out?

The assignments are graded by adjuncts, so there is no chance the prof will catch it on her own.

I don't think it's necessarily true that the prof won't catch it, actually.

But it sounds like you don't think it's a big deal, so I guess I'm not sure what your question is?


They're adjuncts. They'd probably give the kid a higher grade for being smart enough to use a template. :lol:

Chi-Town-911 wrote:
pancakes3 wrote:what kind of plagiarism are we talking about here?

"the standard for summary judgment is XXXXXXXX. some guy v. some other guy, 123 F.2d 456, 789 (D.D.C. 2017)."

or something more?


About ten paragraphs copied word-for-word. The only thing that's changed is the party names and dates.


So he used a brief that exactly addresses the issue like a template and changed what needed to be changed?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:21 pm

Its an academic setting, not practice. But really my point was that getting by doing the bare minimum doesn't justify breaking the rules, which the OP has said this would. (There's an argument that in the academic setting profs want you to learn to do this kind of thing yourself so that you can learn what you do/don't need to change when you use a template in future.)

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pancakes3
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby pancakes3 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:06 pm

well, counterargument is that this isn't an academic endeavor. the guy didn't copy a research memo, he copied a motion. you'd be hard pressed to write a (assumptively pretty standard motion) that didn't have a hint of plagiarism. if the facts lined up as closely as the OP makes it seem, even a well-researched, original, ground-up motion would look fairly similar to a plagiarized motion.

i think there's enough gray area here for it to not be a prima facie plagiarism event.

to me, analogously, it'd be like someone "copying" the steps to solve a math problem and "filling in" the right numbers. there's not a lot of wiggle room here for the student's "own words."

basically, barring "more facts" its hard for me to come down on one side or the other. taking that into account with the social implications raised by Burlington and rpupkin, "do nothing" is probably the best course of action here.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:37 pm

It's for a law school class where you're getting a grade on an assignment created by professors to teach particular skills, of course it's an academic endeavor.

But the argument about whether it's "really" plagiarism is kind of moot when the OP has already said he understands this to be against his school's rules.

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rcharter1978
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby rcharter1978 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:52 am

OP -- I agree with the the poster who said that this would basically be a waste of your time. If you feel super passionate about it, i guess you should pursue it. I just never cared about anyone else's work enough.

I doubt this class is curved so he'll get his grade and you'll get yours. You can always talk to him about it, but I would only do that to throw shade m, and I think it would be sorta funny and a public service to let him know he isn't as slick as he thinks he is.

Unless there is absolutely no interpretive wiggle room on your duty to report and that this is considered plagerism I would probably let it go.

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nunumaster
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby nunumaster » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:27 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:Yeah! I hate when people actually respect the rules and act like decent human beings while expecting others to do the same. Those people are fucking awful!



You sound dumb.

bacillusanthracis
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby bacillusanthracis » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:44 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:In the law school context, this is almost certainly plagiarizing. But, I definitely wouldn't tell the professor. A person who does this regularly is eventually going to get caught on their own. Also, I just wouldn't want to be the one who potentially sinks someone's entire legal career before it even got started.

Sorry if thats a "no snitching" policy, but I'd rather not have that on my mind -- regardless of how egregious the person's conduct was. Quite frankly, I don't think I'd report blatant cheating on an exam (assuming it was just one person and not some classwide scheme that could destroy my grade).


This^ x 10.

When a thing doesn't hurt me, I don't care. I have my own things to do and to worry about without making someone else's life unnecessarily miserable. There's a student at our school who tried to get another student in trouble for filling in the last few sentences of her test after time was called. The proctor failed to give the normal 2-5 minute warning we get, so she was caught off guard, etc. Suffice it to say the student that caused the uproar was pretty much ostracized by everyone who was there to see it.

In real life, I would never work with such a priggish, spiteful person. God forbid such an individual believed wrongly or otherwise that I'd committed some kind of ethical violation that sent before the State Bar. Fuck no.

If it isn't hurting you, then let it go. Worry about what you have to do and frankly, OP, go get laid. It sounds like you could really use it.

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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby RaceJudicata » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:48 pm

bacillusanthracis wrote:
RaceJudicata wrote:In the law school context, this is almost certainly plagiarizing. But, I definitely wouldn't tell the professor. A person who does this regularly is eventually going to get caught on their own. Also, I just wouldn't want to be the one who potentially sinks someone's entire legal career before it even got started.

Sorry if thats a "no snitching" policy, but I'd rather not have that on my mind -- regardless of how egregious the person's conduct was. Quite frankly, I don't think I'd report blatant cheating on an exam (assuming it was just one person and not some classwide scheme that could destroy my grade).


This^ x 10.

When a thing doesn't hurt me, I don't care. I have my own things to do and to worry about without making someone else's life unnecessarily miserable. There's a student at our school who tried to get another student in trouble for filling in the last few sentences of her test after time was called. The proctor failed to give the normal 2-5 minute warning we get, so she was caught off guard, etc. Suffice it to say the student that caused the uproar was pretty much ostracized by everyone who was there to see it.

In real life, I would never work with such a priggish, spiteful person. God forbid such an individual believed wrongly or otherwise that I'd committed some kind of ethical violation that sent before the State Bar. Fuck no.

If it isn't hurting you, then let it go. Worry about what you have to do and frankly, OP, go get laid. It sounds like you could really use it.


While I agree with everything you said (and why wouldn't I, i wrote the quoted post lol), I somewhat disagree with the bolded. I only disagree because some states (most states?) require you to report certain ethical violations. Granted, those ethical violations are like stealing client money, etc.

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rpupkin
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby rpupkin » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:59 pm

bacillusanthracis wrote:If it isn't hurting you, then let it go. Worry about what you have to do and frankly, OP, go get laid. It sounds like you could really use it.

Classy.

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BlendedUnicorn
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:25 pm

Yeah I mean I would feel differently if this weren't a victimless crime or if it was- for example- a med student cheating on her open heart surgery exam or something. Don't get so caught up in the law game that you lose track of what is and isn't important.

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quiver
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby quiver » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:15 pm

mjb447 wrote:
pancakes3 wrote:what kind of plagiarism are we talking about here?

"the standard for summary judgment is XXXXXXXX. some guy v. some other guy, 123 F.2d 456, 789 (D.D.C. 2017)."

or something more?

(that's a really long opinion!)
Underappreciated.

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ood's_brother
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby ood's_brother » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:27 pm

Delete
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lymenheimer
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby lymenheimer » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:37 pm

ood's_brother wrote:imo, I would forward it to someone. Send it in a anonymously if you want. That bullshit about someone getting caught on their own is stupid.

This scenario is them getting caught on their own.

If this is a first time thing though, I'd talk to him. However I doubt this is his first time.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=170599

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Desert Fox
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby Desert Fox » Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:23 pm

has anyone called flame yet? Cause the amount of plagerizing seems to have massively gone up from the OP til now.

How can you even plagerize nearly all of a 10 paragraph brief.

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zhenders
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby zhenders » Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:37 pm

Are you so sure this is victimless? I dunno. This puts you and everyone in your class in a really shitty position. Not that you'd ever get in trouble for it, but you're now in the position of knowing that a classmate is blatantly cheating. What ethical position does that put you in? Also, this assignment may be ungraded, but future assignments certainly won't be--and you, along with the rest of your class, are much more likely to get screwed without knowing it when that student turns in a graded writing assignment she or he lifted off of Westlaw.

If I were in your shoes, I would report it. I'd send a link to the specific Westlaw document lifted from, and explain that you didn't feel comfortable keeping this kid's secrets, in light of the fact that down the road it might negatively impact the entire class (which is true. I think it's pretty shitty to cover for someone who's doing this, given how hard all of your fellow classmates are working). Ask the professor for anonymity; they'll grant it. The professor can and will spin it as though they were familiar with the brief or memo or whatever that was copied from.

Someone does this once on an ungraded assignment, you can bet they're gonna cheat when it's graded. Don't fool yourself.

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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby Nebby » Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:36 pm

The kid who copied another brief directly on point should get an A because that's exactly what you do in practice.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:12 pm

Nebby wrote:The kid who copied another brief directly on point should get an A because that's exactly what you do in practice.

This is a dumb argument.

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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby Nebby » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:59 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Nebby wrote:The kid who copied another brief directly on point should get an A because that's exactly what you do in practice.

This is a dumb argument.

So is OP's question. Probably sour that they didn't think of it first.

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rpupkin
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:02 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Nebby wrote:The kid who copied another brief directly on point should get an A because that's exactly what you do in practice.

This is a dumb argument.

Even setting aside the pedagogical issues, I'm kind of shocked at the posts of many practicing attorneys in this thread.

It's one thing to copy a paragraph that summarizes the standard of review, or a paragraph that summarizes the holding of a particular case. But it's another thing to copy an entire brief (or 10 consecutive paragraphs of a brief) submitted by another party in a different case. A couple of years ago, we caught that level of copying in an opposing party's brief, and noted it in a footnote in our reply brief (along with a WL citation to the party's brief they copied). No, the law firm did not get busted for "plagiarism," but their credibility with the Court was damaged. The judge chewed out the opposing attorney at the hearing. Also, I can't imagine that their client was too happy about it (particularly if the firm billed a bunch of hours for the copy-and-paste job).

Large-scale copying of another firm/party's brief is a bad idea.

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Nebby
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby Nebby » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:08 pm

rpupkin wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Nebby wrote:The kid who copied another brief directly on point should get an A because that's exactly what you do in practice.

This is a dumb argument.

Even setting aside the pedagogical issues, I'm kind of shocked at the posts of many practicing attorneys in this thread.

It's one thing to copy a paragraph that summarizes the standard of review, or a paragraph that summarizes the holding of a particular case. But it's another thing to copy an entire brief (or 10 consecutive paragraphs of a brief) submitted by another party in a different case. A couple of years ago, we caught that level of copying in an opposing party's brief, and noted it in a footnote in our reply brief (along with a WL citation to the party's brief they copied). No, the law firm did not get busted for "plagiarism," but their credibility with the Court was damaged. The judge chewed out the opposing attorney at the hearing. Also, I can't imagine that their client was too happy about it (particularly if the firm billed a bunch of hours for the copy-and-paste job).

Large-scale copying of another firm/party's brief is a bad idea.

Eh, I admit you both are right. I am conflating copy and pasting whole pages with copying format, structure, and then filling in with updated law and facts that match your case. The former is lazy and bad practice, and it likely only helped OP's villian because the professor was too lazy to come up with an original idea, so he opted for a vanilla idea that has likely been litigated many times over (hence why student was able to wholesale copy pages from a brief).

I was more so just referencing the latter instance of copying format and structure, but I was admittedly being hyperbolic and conflating them both because OP seemed to be whining about something largely inconsequential to himself.

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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby albanach » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:41 pm

lawman84 wrote:
But I don't think of this as blatant cheating. To me, it looks like what actual lawyers advise you to do. Find a template, don't waste time reinventing the wheel, and get the work done right.


How often in practice do you find ten paragraphs that are not only on-point, but which cannot be improved upon?

Lettow
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Re: Should I report extensive plagiarism in opposing student's brief for mock trial class?

Postby Lettow » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:48 am

I probably would report him, depending on whether he is well-known for being a poor student. Wakeup calls in law school are better than those in practice.

Some people ITT are letting the "snitches get stitches" mentality go straight to their head.




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