Cal. Litig. 2014, Volume 27, Number 1

Officers of a Court Do Not Plagiarize

By Elliot L. Bien

Elliot L. Bien

To my great surprise, this State Bar journal recently published an argument that plagiarism is generally acceptable in lawyers’ submissions to a court. (Shatz & McGrath, Beg, Borrow, Steal: Plagiarism vs. Copying in Legal Writing (Winter 2013) 26:3 Cal.Litig. 14.) The authors reason that "a litigator’s job is to prevail….Pleadings and legal briefs serve practical, not academic or artistic, purposes." (Id. at p. 14.) "Plagiarism is rightfully a mortal sin in academic settings, where original expression is paramount. Litigation is different, with far more room for borrowing ideas and writings." (Id. at p. 18.)

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