Plagiarism

There are (many) legitimate criticisms of President Obama to be made, from both the right and the left. But reasonable people can agree that there are also many ridiculous ones.

He’s a Communist! He’s not a U.S. citizen! He’s a closet Muslim who wants to institute sharia law in the United States!

How about: he’s a plagiarist!

It’s true of Vice President Joe Biden. Is it true of President Obama?

(Please note the UPDATE added below.)

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I’m not sure whether or not this adds to the debate over affirmative action programs in schools, but in a truly stunning display, a student turned in a constitutional law paper on the Reconstruction Amendments with a small aside about her personal struggle with discrimination as a black woman.

Except she’s white.

Maybe she’s laying groundwork early to get on a law review somewhere other than Chicago?

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It must suck to teach middle school these days. Every student paper has got to be littered with factual citations to the crowdsourced compendium of human knowledge known as Wikipedia. Even if teachers barred students from citing Wikipedia, they just blatantly plagiarize the stuff anyway. Wikipedia is basically the using song lyrics for “write a poem” of the modern era.

Sometimes prestigious law professors may act just like middle schoolers. Cramming to turn in his expert report, one T14 professor allegedly decided to go ahead and spice it up with plagiarized Wikipedia analysis. Indeed, parts of 13 pages of the 19-page report might have been lifted from the website that once explained that “Plato was an ancient Hawaiian weather man and surfer, writer of cosmo girls and founder of the punahou in Ancient Florida?”

So that’s what you do after you leave the Cave.

Anyway, which professor are they saying ripped off Wikipedia?

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As an academic, it’s always gratifying to know that my work is being read and cited by policymakers. Quotes would be nice, and it’s unfortunate that Sen. Paul’s staff was not more careful, but spreading the ideas is more important. Sen. Paul is hardly the first politician to appropriate the words of others without following proper citation conventions, and he will not be the last.

– Professor Jonathan H. Adler of Case Western Reserve University School of Law, reacting graciously to the news that his work got plagiarized by Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky).

* Dewey have some false expectations of success for this partner settlement agreement? Only one in four affected partners have signed on the dotted line, but advisers think the plan will win bankruptcy court approval. [Am Law Daily]

* “There comes a point where the prospects of substantially increasing your income just outweigh everything else.” Even on his $168K salary, this appellate judge wasn’t rich in New York City, so he quit his job. [New York Law Journal]

* The middle class needs lawyers, and unemployed law school graduates need jobs. The solution for both problems seems pretty obvious, but starting a firm still costs money, no matter how “prudent” you are. [National Law Journal]

* “This is a time when law schools are trying to look carefully at their expenses and not add to them.” New York’s new pro bono initiative may come at a cost for law schools, too. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Much to Great Britain’s dismay, Ecuador has announced that it will grant political asylum to Julian Assange of WikiLeaks fame. Sucks for Ecuador, because Assange is known to not flush the toilet. [New York Times]

* A smooth criminal gets a break: Michael Jackson’s father dropped a wrongful death suit against Dr. Conrad Murray. It probably would’ve been helpful if his attorneys could actually practice in California. [Washington Post]

* Did Lindsay Lohan’s lawyers plagiarize documents from internet websites in their defamation filings against Pitbull? You can deny it all you want, but his lawyer is out for blood and sanctions. [New York Daily News]

* It’s not just media groups that are urging the Supreme Court to allow live coverage of the announcement of the ACA decision. Senators Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley of the Senate Judiciary Committee have joined the club. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Dewey know whether this failed firm’s former partners will be settling their claims any time soon? Team Togut hopes to reach a deal in the next six weeks, and claims that cooperation will absolve D&L’s deserters of all future liability. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* From Biglaw to the big house: former Sullivan & Cromwell partner John O’Brien, who is serving time for tax evasion charges, has been suspended from practicing law in New York. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* A Stradling Yocca partner and his wife, a Boalt Hall graduate, stand accused of planting drugs on a school volunteer who supervised their son. Looks like the only thing they’re straddling now is jail time. [OC Register]

* Dharun Ravi was released early from jail yesterday after completing a little more than half of his 30-day sentence. Funny how bad behavior got him into the slammer, but good behavior got him out of it. [CNN]

* “Why would somebody so smart do something so stupid?” Kenneth Kratz, the sexting DA from Wisconsin, claims that the answer to that question is an addiction to sex and prescription drugs. [Herald Times Reporter]

* Jay-Z’s got 99 problems and this bitch is one. He’s been accused by Patrick White of plagiarizing parts of his own best-selling memoir, “Decoded,” and slapped with a copyright infringement suit. [New York Daily News]

As a law student, having an article accepted for publication in a law review or journal is usually a great way to ensure that your résumé lands on the top of the enormous stack of papers on the hiring partner’s desk. Having a degree from Harvard Law School is an even better way to do the same thing. But the ultimate claim to success is having both of these things. You’ll get the Biglaw job that you’ve always dreamed of, and a six-figure paycheck to pay off your matching six-figure debt.

Unless you’ve been accused of plagiarism. Then you can kiss all of your dreams goodbye, and say hello to the unemployment line. This is what one recent Harvard Law graduate claims happened to her in a lawsuit against her Ivy league alma mater….

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Cheating is never okay, right? That’s one central lesson all students are supposed to learn in elementary school (to say nothing of law school). It’s important to be honest. If a student lies or cheats on a test or homework, there are consequences. There’s nothing up for debate here, right?

Well, at least one northern California lawyer thinks it was unjust that his son was booted from an honors English class for plagiarizing. It appears the lesson he hopes to teach his son is: cheating is bad, but it’s more important that schools have crystal-clear academic honesty policies. He is suing his son’s school district, arguing that his son’s punishment does not fit his crime.

Keep reading to see more about our latest Lawsuit of the Day

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Is it really that hard to make a commencement speech? I wrote one in high school. It was basically about seizing the day. My friend made one in college. Same theme, only in Latin. You can also make commencement speeches about giving back to your community, the importance of education, or how your generation is the most awesome generation ever to be generated. It’s not hard, people.

And yet people consistently screw it up. Today we have two different ways that people can screw up a commencement speech — one example from an old person, one example from a young person. One example from a very good law school, one example from a school that isn’t ranked that highly.

Apparently, anybody can screw up a commencement address if they try hard enough….

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