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The overriding constant should be a diligent and meticulous attention to detail; writers
should err on the side of providing, rather than omitting, reference information.
“You must acknowledge all material quoted, paraphrased, or summarized from any
published or unpublished work. Failing to cite a source, deliberately or accidentally, is
plagiarism—representing as your own the words or ideas of another.” Harbrace College
Handbook 412 (12th ed., 1994). Undergraduate professors accept “common knowledge”
without citation, that is, facts most readers would already know, and facts available from
a wide variety of sources, for instance, the date of D-Day or the name of the previous U.S
President. Common knowledge is distinguished from a unique set of words. The New St.
Martin’s Handbook 495 (4th ed., 1999).
The expectation is that writers will rely, almost exclusively, on existing authority. Thus,
citing existing authority adds credibility to the writer’s discussion. Common knowledge
generally derives from case law or statute and must be cited.
Student Collaboration: Students may share work products only up to the point that their
professor authorizes team work.
The frame of reference and expectations shift outside the academic environment. In
practice, legal writers liberally borrow language from other sources; frequently, they
collaborate on a project. Some lawyers write under the name of their supervising partner,
judge, or government official. Occasionally, lawyers may write law review articles or
publish CLE materials; then they adjust to outside expectations, which may require 3 careful source attribution. Nevertheless, like law school writers, lawyers continue to
depend on legal citations to provide authority.
RULES FOR WORKING WITH AUTHORITY
Avoiding allegations of plagiarism requires knowing when to cite. Here are important
rules and suggestions to follow when working with authority: 1. Acknowledge di...
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This document was uploaded on 01/15/2014.
- Winter '14