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Legal Writing

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Honesty is the foundation of academic integrity. Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law students are expected to act with integrity in their educational pursuits and refrain from committing acts of academic dishonesty, which includes plagiarism.

The Honor Code of the College of Law defines plagiarism as the following: 

Plagiarism is representing the words or ideas of another as one's own. Quoting or paraphrasing another's writing without acknowledging the author's identity is a form of plagiarism. Ignorance, as to the meaning of plagiarism, is not a defense. Honor Code 3(c)

Additional information on academic integrity at ASU can be found on the website of the Office of the University Provost.

Best Practices for Avoiding Plagiarism

  • If you use someone else's idea, you need to credit that person for that idea. For example, if you take a position in a paper based on a particular author's idea, you must give that author recognition for the idea.  It was not your idea.
  • Do not cite sources you didn't use.
  • When conducting online research, write down the URL, and the date and time you retrieved the information online.  You will need this information to properly cite your source.
  • When researching, put quotes around phrases you write in your research log to denote a direct quotation.  Again, write the citation for where you found the quote.  Mark your own ideas by some method such as using your initials to differentiate your ideas from those of others.  Some people use different ink colors or highlighters to differentiate between sources.
  • When directly copying/quoting from a source/individual, you need to credit the source/individual by both putting the copied language in quotation marks and inserting a footnote to the source, including the relevant paragraph or page number.
  • Understand and process the information you gathered through research so you can intelligently and honestly draft your memo, paper, or article in your own words.

Resources for More Information

ASU Library: Plagiarism Awareness Tutorial
This tutorial from the ASU Library provides strategies for avoiding plagiarism. 

CALI: Plagiarism in an Online World - Staying Out of Trouble
This lesson explains what constitutes plagiarism, distinguishes between copyright and plagiarism, and offers opportunities for students to test their understanding of plagiarism.

CALI: Citation Form for Briefs and Legal Memoranda
This exercise is to help users learn the rules of proper citation form for briefs and legal memoranda.

The Little Book of Plagiarism (Richard A. Posner, 2007)
This (literally) small book explores the big picture of plagiarism, addressing such questions as: What is plagiarism?; How has the meaning of the term changed over time?; Is the practice on the rise or just more easily detectable with technology?; What are the motives of plagiarists?; and What forms of punishment are appropriate for plagiarism?

Plagiarism, Copyright Violation, and Other Thefts of Intellectual Property: An Annotated Bibliography with a Lengthy Introduction (Judy Anderson, 1998)
This title is an annotated bibliography to over 600 articles that address the topics of plagiarism and the theft of intellectual property in general.