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Author Topic: caught for plagiarism at my school  (Read 7007 times)

Futurized

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caught for plagiarism at my school
« on: February 28, 2006, 12:19:59 AM »
This past semester, 3 people in my legal writing class (including me, ashamedly), found a copy of the final memo on a library computer (separately) and copied from it.  A typographical error in the citeform lifted from the common paper did us all in.  I admitted to plagiarism after another had already done so, and the disciplinary committee head said he would push for an F in the writing course, with no suspension or trascript records.  However, today I received a letter from him, with the proposed sanction being suspension for the current semester, a F for the course, as well as a record on the transcript about the disciplinary action.

Now I could either accept this punishment, or go onto a formal hearing process and see what happens there.  Will a record of honor code violation preclude me from sitting at for the bar?  I think if the proposed punishment stands, I will just have to quit law school and pursue something else...  Does anyone know of a similar situation at your school, and what was the outcome of it? 

I know what I did was wrong, it was a lapse in judgment.  I would appreciate it if anyone could offer some insights.


Brisco

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Re: caught for plagiarism at my school
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2006, 12:53:21 AM »
An honor violation is definetly something that would make passing C&F difficult. Usually time can overcome that sort of thing but who knows if 3 years is enough. You may end up in a lengthy appeals process after passing the bar. If you have to take out 100k+ in loans it's probably too much of a risk.

BigRedWarEagle

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Re: caught for plagiarism at my school
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2006, 07:39:33 AM »
You could always run for US Senate.  Joseph Biden has made a good career of it.
You are not your job.

jacy85

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Re: caught for plagiarism at my school
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2006, 07:58:28 AM »
Yes, you may be screwed for the bar, at least for when you graduate.  As brisco said, after time has passed, you may be ok, but it's definitely a severe red flag that will cause you a lot of problems in the C&F exam.

As for whehter to take the punishment they've offered...you need to consider what the punishment would be if you went through all the formal channels.  Don't think, "maybe I'll get off."  You probably won't.  YOu cheated and plagerized.  And if there's one thing most law schools take very, very seriously, it's honor code violations.  So if there's a chance that the formal hearing would expel you or something, I'd take the deal.

Either way, you may have more things to concern you than the bar and the current repurcussions of whatever deal you take.  I don't know who would want to hire you for a summer position with an F in legal writing, let alone such a black mark as plagerism.

BigRedWarEagle

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Re: caught for plagiarism at my school
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2006, 12:54:40 PM »
My Biden joke was meant tongue-in-cheek, but I really do think you've dug yourself a huge hole here.  Nothing can be said that will help...frankly, anything advice short of "it's going to be extremely hard for you for the medium-term" is just polishing a turd.  Plagiarism is the biggest professional no-no you could have done at this point in your career.  You may not be able to get a second bite at the legal apple.  The fact that you're talking about taking this to a review board because you're upset that you will receive an F tells me that your judgment sucks.  A review board would probably kick you out of school at this point because they're in awe that you'd try to fight the lenient punishment that you have been dealt.

Being completely candid here, I think you should start looking for another career path.  Any potential future employers are going to keep you at a distance...I sure wouldn't want to bring in an untested newbie into my firm when they've already been shown to cheat under pressure.

A good quote to remember:

"Adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it."

If the heat of the RWA battle made you cheat, imagine what a big trial will do to you.
You are not your job.

shamrock13

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Re: caught for plagiarism at my school
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2006, 01:54:10 PM »
if you hadn't confessed, how would the school know that it wasn't merely a common mistake made by 3 people on one citation?

T. Durden

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Re: caught for plagiarism at my school
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2006, 02:40:17 PM »
this is a very serious matter. don't listen to any of the idiots on this website. gather your resources, find someone who knows about situations such as these and has expeience dealing with them, and talk to that person in length. find out what your options are. file a protest if its the intelligent, tactical thing to do. it might be that the deal offered to might be best case scenario. it might also be that the dean is putting you over a barrel. no one on this site really knows as none of us (at least presumably) have experience with cheating / know someone who has.

find someone who can help you. find someone who knows about these situations. find someone will be able to give you *intelligent* advice. i think generally speaking these people are called lawyers .. :) 

bennybm

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Re: caught for plagiarism at my school
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2006, 03:16:11 PM »
I would allege that you had the citation first and they plagiarized your work.  That will teach them....
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jimmyjohn

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Re: caught for plagiarism at my school
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2006, 03:52:16 PM »
This past semester, 3 people in my legal writing class (including me, ashamedly), found a copy of the final memo on a library computer (separately) and copied from it.  A typographical error in the citeform lifted from the common paper did us all in.  I admitted to plagiarism after another had already done so, and the disciplinary committee head said he would push for an F in the writing course, with no suspension or trascript records.  However, today I received a letter from him, with the proposed sanction being suspension for the current semester, a F for the course, as well as a record on the transcript about the disciplinary action.

Now I could either accept this punishment, or go onto a formal hearing process and see what happens there.  Will a record of honor code violation preclude me from sitting at for the bar?  I think if the proposed punishment stands, I will just have to quit law school and pursue something else...  Does anyone know of a similar situation at your school, and what was the outcome of it? 

I know what I did was wrong, it was a lapse in judgment.  I would appreciate it if anyone could offer some insights.



My question is how they knew about this single citation that was on a computer in the library.  It almost seems like they're trying to catch people cheating, which in my opinion isn't really the job of the law school.  Unless you copied entire paragraphs, this shouldn't set off a false alarm unless they were deliberately trying to catch cheaters, which in my opinion is a bit low.  But I suppose cheating is cheating for these purposes.  You're not likely to be able to raise a defense of entrapment in this kind of setting.

reverendlex

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Re: caught for plagiarism at my school
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2006, 04:04:39 PM »
I sit on my university's disciplinary board. All I have to say is that there is something of a 'trial penalty'. If you accept the F & the discipline, you can write a nice addendum to the bar examiners explaining how you screwed up & they might let you slide. Realize that the bar character & fitness check is a prospective one- they want to be convinced that you won't take advantage of your clients or the courts.

If you decide to fight this, your school can kick you out, which is the kiss of death. You aren't going to be able to successfully apply to another school with that on your record.

The year before I got on the committee, the board did expel a 2L for doing some stupid things, but not rising to the level of fraud or dishonesty. Academic dishonesty is something that will get you kicked out. Merely getting an F and a disciplinary notice is a pretty good deal, assuming that you're guilty.
 
Of course, fighting it might be in your best interests. If you're a 1L and get expelled, you're into law school for only one year of debt. Better than getting found unfit after graduation and 100k of debt...