The Case for Plagiarism

9 UC Irvine Law Review 531 (2019)

26 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2019

See all articles by Andrew Carter

Andrew Carter

Arizona State University- Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Date Written: July 6, 2019


American courts persistently enforce a thick professional norm against plagiarism in filed legal briefs. But while courts variously label the practice as “reprehensible” and “wholly intolerable,” they never bother to explain why, exactly, plagiarism is worthy of such heavy rebuke. Instead, the courts proceed as though plagiarism is a malum se offense, a practice of such obvious moral turpitude that its prohibition requires no further explanation. The courts are flatly wrong about plagiarism. Plagiarism breaches no universal moral code. And once you take morality off the table, it is near-impossible to locate the interests served by the courts’ rule against plagiarism. Indeed, when the efficiencies obtained by plagiarism are placed on the scales, the case turns decidedly in favor of plagiarism as a legitimate means of brief drafting.

Keywords: plagiarism, legal practice, access to justice

Suggested Citation

Carter, Andrew, The Case for Plagiarism (July 6, 2019). 9 UC Irvine Law Review 531 (2019), Available at SSRN:

Andrew Carter (Contact Author)

Arizona State University- Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Beus Center for Law and Society
Mail Code 9520, 111 E. Taylor Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004-4467
United States

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