C&F Question - Potential Plagiarism Issue

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vmp12345

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C&F Question - Potential Plagiarism Issue

Post by vmp12345 » Fri May 22, 2020 5:41 pm

I’ll try to keep this short and brief. In my final semester of undergrad, I was warned by a professor for not including proper citations in an outline. This was NOT a formal paper, but rather an outline to a presentation containing material that I would use for a class discussion / presentation. I recently contacted my school to see if they had a record of the incident. I attached their response below. How should I address this in the C&F portion of the application? Will this be a serious concern for admission?

I've had a chance to review your file. A record of the incident does exist, but only resides in my office. It is not on your official or permanent education record, nor is it on your transcript. I would like to mention, if an institution reaches out to us regarding plagiarism concerns (per your permission), we will have to report it. We would indicate this was a minor, unintentional mistake, but it is something we will have to confirm.

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cavalier1138

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Re: C&F Question - Potential Plagiarism Issue

Post by cavalier1138 » Fri May 22, 2020 5:49 pm

You disclose it with a brief statement of what happened and explaining what you learned from the incident. It is unlikely to be a serious concern for you, especially given the statement from your school that they would specifically indicate that it was both unintentional and minor.

germlegal

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Re: C&F Question - Potential Plagiarism Issue

Post by germlegal » Fri May 29, 2020 1:35 am

Do what YOU think is best. Be careful about taking other people's advice as to what you should do. Here is what I would do:

Make full disclosure, so that they do not have to ask any additional questions. Include a copy of the response letter you cited from the professor. I would also include a copy of the outline (without proper citations) just for completeness. I do not think it would be a deal breaker or even a factor in admission.

If, on the other hand, you were to conceal the incident, that would be a big deal.

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cavalier1138

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Re: C&F Question - Potential Plagiarism Issue

Post by cavalier1138 » Fri May 29, 2020 6:20 am

germlegal wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 1:35 am
Do what YOU think is best.
Unless what you think is best involves not disclosing things because you think "There's no chance anyone will care about this if they do find out."

Before starting law school, most people don't understand that the legal profession as a whole treats a failure to disclose as worse than the underlying incident. So while "Follow your instincts" is great advice in police procedurals and action movies, it's not such a great idea for law school applications. It's also a weird caveat to give before you provide the exact same advice.

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Re: C&F Question - Potential Plagiarism Issue

Post by nixy » Fri May 29, 2020 8:07 am

Also, really don’t provide a copy of the outline itself, no one wants to read that.

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germlegal

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Re: C&F Question - Potential Plagiarism Issue

Post by germlegal » Sun May 31, 2020 2:56 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 6:20 am
germlegal wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 1:35 am
Do what YOU think is best.
Unless what you think is best involves not disclosing things because you think "There's no chance anyone will care about this if they do find out."

Before starting law school, most people don't understand that the legal profession as a whole treats a failure to disclose as worse than the underlying incident. So while "Follow your instincts" is great advice in police procedurals and action movies, it's not such a great idea for law school applications. It's also a weird caveat to give before you provide the exact same advice.
Do what YOU think is best?
Translation: Be careful whom you take advice from. I didn't say "follow your instincts" but if that's your understanding, oh well.

I disagree with your suggestion to provide a "brief" statement. I would provide an adequate, thorough explanation.

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Re: C&F Question - Potential Plagiarism Issue

Post by germlegal » Sun May 31, 2020 4:06 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 6:20 am

Before starting law school, most people don't understand that the legal profession as a whole treats a failure to disclose as worse than the underlying incident.
What's your basis of knowledge for this opinion about what "most people" think? You seem to be referring to most pre-law students. Again, what's your basis of knowledge?

Civil litigation is all about playing hide the ball, refusing to give up information. Criminal is less so due to duty to disclose exculpatory evidence.

On the other hand, law school admissions and Bar admissions is all about full disclosure.

Sounds like you know a lot though! :D

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cavalier1138

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Re: C&F Question - Potential Plagiarism Issue

Post by cavalier1138 » Sun May 31, 2020 7:17 am

germlegal wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:06 am
What's your basis of knowledge for this opinion about what "most people" think? You seem to be referring to most pre-law students. Again, what's your basis of knowledge?
*gestures at the forum you're posting in*
germlegal wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:06 am
Civil litigation is all about playing hide the ball, refusing to give up information. Criminal is less so due to duty to disclose exculpatory evidence.

On the other hand, law school admissions and Bar admissions is all about full disclosure.
Please tell me more about the practice of law.

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Re: C&F Question - Potential Plagiarism Issue

Post by beepboopbeep » Sun May 31, 2020 10:56 am

germlegal wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:06 am
cavalier1138 wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 6:20 am

Before starting law school, most people don't understand that the legal profession as a whole treats a failure to disclose as worse than the underlying incident.
What's your basis of knowledge for this opinion about what "most people" think? You seem to be referring to most pre-law students. Again, what's your basis of knowledge?

Civil litigation is all about playing hide the ball, refusing to give up information. Criminal is less so due to duty to disclose exculpatory evidence.

On the other hand, law school admissions and Bar admissions is all about full disclosure.

Sounds like you know a lot though! :D
Are you thick? No one's asking OP to produce his outline in discovery. The entire question was about C&F disclosure for admissions apps. There's no nuance here. Disclose.

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germlegal

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Re: C&F Question - Potential Plagiarism Issue

Post by germlegal » Sun May 31, 2020 12:09 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 7:17 am
germlegal wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:06 am
What's your basis of knowledge for this opinion about what "most people" think? You seem to be referring to most pre-law students. Again, what's your basis of knowledge?
*gestures at the forum you're posting in*

LOL, so your basis of knowledge about what "most people think" is a tiny internet forum with hardly any traffic?
germlegal wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:06 am
Civil litigation is all about playing hide the ball, refusing to give up information. Criminal is less so due to duty to disclose exculpatory evidence.

On the other hand, law school admissions and Bar admissions is all about full disclosure.
Please tell me more about the practice of law.
Wrong angle. My point is distinguishing disclosures in the practice of law from disclosures in admissions processes.

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Re: C&F Question - Potential Plagiarism Issue

Post by nixy » Sun May 31, 2020 1:30 pm

germlegal wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:06 am
cavalier1138 wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 6:20 am

Before starting law school, most people don't understand that the legal profession as a whole treats a failure to disclose as worse than the underlying incident.
What's your basis of knowledge for this opinion about what "most people" think? You seem to be referring to most pre-law students. Again, what's your basis of knowledge?

Civil litigation is all about playing hide the ball, refusing to give up information. Criminal is less so due to duty to disclose exculpatory evidence.

On the other hand, law school admissions and Bar admissions is all about full disclosure.

Sounds like you know a lot though! :D
1) people *regularly* post here not understanding that failure to disclose is worse than whatever you’re not disclosing. I absolutely agree that yes, most pre-law students don’t get this.

2) “full disclosure” doesn’t mean including the actual outline. That’s just silly. An adequate, thorough explanation here would be a brief statement. This is exceedingly minor and likely needs to be disclosed but isn’t a big deal.

germlegal

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Re: C&F Question - Potential Plagiarism Issue

Post by germlegal » Mon Jun 01, 2020 12:26 pm

nixy wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 1:30 pm
1) people *regularly* post here not understanding that failure to disclose is worse than whatever you’re not disclosing. I absolutely agree that yes, most pre-law students don’t get this.
And what % of law students (current and prospective) do you think actually post messages on this forum? I would estimate substantially less than 1%. :shock:

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Re: C&F Question - Potential Plagiarism Issue

Post by nixy » Mon Jun 01, 2020 12:38 pm

Over the many years this forum has been around? Probably more than that. Do you have any reason to think such posters aren’t representative? What are you basing your knowledge of law students’ general understanding about disclosure on?

TexasBigLaw

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Re: C&F Question - Potential Plagiarism Issue

Post by TexasBigLaw » Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:55 pm

Agree that you fully disclose - if you describe it to them like you described it to us, it sounds like a non-issue. Nondisclosure is too big a risk - if it somehow comes out, then you're looking at potential expulsion and/or C&F issues when you sit for the bar in several years. Not worth it.

I don't think it's necessary to include anything else (i.e.: outlines or emails) unless you think it's strong evidence in your favor. A brief narrative explanation is fine - if they really care they will contact your undergrad school to confirm anyway. If it were me I might say something about how I always understood the importance of proper citation in my final published work, but I learned from that experience that it's important to also cite properly in outlines and drafts of that work, and I've since improved my drafting and outlining habits to make sure it never happens again.

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