« on: April 08, 2009, 07:51:56 PM »
Not sure that memo-writing and the process of doctrinal study are synonymous. In the case of doctrinal classes, it's pretty clear that you *should* be discussing the material with people outside your class in an attempt to understand it. Moreover, some professors do allow you to "bring" the words of others into finals in the form of outlines, hornbooks, etc. The trouble there is that everything is timed and you can't spend forever looking at sources, because that would trade accuracy for the ability to discuss issues, which is what matters. The assumption here is that you're providing a finished product.
The goal of legal research is different, because the advice you get is more directly related to the final product, and the product is static - you can look at it one day, then leave it, then go back to it. Compounded with this, what's being graded is not necessarily your thought process - which is ultimately intangible and unknowable - but your ability to perform more nuts-and-bolts tasks. Even conduct outside of this is suspect. Asking an employment attorney where to start an employment-related memo research contravenes the principle of the assignment, because the goal is to furnish all of your own research so that you'll be able to duplicate it one day.
I tend to view legal writing assignments as more similar to "closed book" final exams. Clearly bringing anything into the final exam besides your laptop and a can of red bull would be a violation of the honor code. Accordingly, if the honor code says not to talk about the problem or share your work with any legal professional, I think enforcement of the letter of the law would be appropriate. I agree, though, all honor codes are different and there's an exception to every rule. Moreover, sometimes profs will say it's okay to ask for outside help. If that's the case, get help from wherever you can if it would be useful. Though I guarantee you that if I saw someone looking at their outline during a closed-book, closed-note final exam I would report them.