Saturday, October 16, 2010

How not to practice law: Plagiarize

In my class we discuss the case of In Re Lamberis in which a lawyer is disciplined for plagiarism in a (non law related) master's thesis. I use the case to illustrate the facts that (a) a lawyer can be disciplined for conduct outside the practice of law and (b) plagiarism is a very serious offense that the law school will not take lightly.

The Legal Profession blog is now reporting on a case in which the Iowa Supreme Court has imposed a public reprimand of an attorney who was found to have plagiarized in two briefs filed in a bankruptcy matter. Apparently, the bankruptcy judge had found that the briefs in question were of "unusually high quality" and directed the attorney to certify that he was the author. The judge's hunch was correct: the reason the brief was of such high quality was that the lawyer had lifted 17 pages virtually verbatim from a law review article . In response to the order, the attorney admitted that he had exceeded permissible use of a source. Go here for a copy of the decison.

This is the first case I have seen of discipline for plagiarism in a brief.

Thanks to the Legal Profession blog for the information.

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