Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2012


In a recent high-profile prosecution, the federal district court criticized defense counsel for filing a post-trial brief that copied passages from previously published material without attribution. The court followed other recent decisions that, since about 2000, have chastised lawyers for briefs marked by plagiarism. Some lawyers had copied passages from earlier judicial opinions that rest in the public domain, and some lawyers (as in the recent prosecution) had copied passages from private sources that are subject to the copyright laws. In either event, courts have labeled lawyers’ plagiarism “reprehensible,” “intolerable,” “completely unacceptable,” and “unprofessional.”



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