Avoiding Plagiarism in Legal Essays: Strategies Every Student Must Know

The use of someone else’s words or ideas in legal writing without proper attribution is – plagiarism- perhaps one of the easiest ways to ruin your academic or professional reputation. 

Don’t believe it? Simply ask Senator John Walsh, whose Master’s degree from the United States War College was rescinded after it was discovered that he copied huge chunks of his final thesis without any attribution. Even Fernando Suez, who heads the King Juan Carlos University in Madrid, was accused of repeatedly copying other people’s work without giving any credit.  

According to the best essay help stalwarts of reputed academic websites, as a law student, being scrupulous about preventing plagiarism is specifically crucial. This is because the violation of plagiarism could be used as evidence of poor ‘fitness and character’ when you apply for admission to the bar. For lawyers already in practice, plagiarism can be grounds for professional discipline. 

In today’s comprehensive post, we will walk you through certain actionable strategies enabling you to deliver original and ethical work. In fact, you won’t ever have to worry about whether your work contains plagiarized material. 

Let’s dive right in! 

  • Use Direct Quotes – Or Don’t Quote at All 

In your legal research, you will often come across a passage that makes a point so brilliantly that you can’t think of saying it any other way. There’s nothing wrong with copying such statements in your write-up, but it is wise to be careful how you do it. 

A close look at law essay help samples of reputed academic website, will help you understand that simply adding a citation to the source is not enough; you should also ‘put the copied language in quotation marks’. Without quotation marks, you give the reader the impression that you wrote the passage yourself. 

  • Use Paraphrasing 

This method is the perfect strategy when you know you have to reference the original source but can’t find it anywhere. Interpret the key idea in your own words without writing more than two words in a row verbatim. 

Always make sure to double-check to ensure that you didn’t mess this up. Again, you can’t simply rewrite someone else’s thoughts and present them as your own. Even when you’re paraphrasing, it is crucial to attribute ideas to their original authors. Simply start the sentence by citing the author and then continue sharing your thoughts and ideas. 

  • Cite Resources Accurately 

This is perhaps one of the most effective ways to avoid plagiarism in legal papers. This is as a proper citation includes all the necessary information about the original work and its author. 

To cite the materials accurately, you need to be well-versed with all the citation style guidelines of your institution (MLA, APA, Oxford, Vancouver, Chicago, etc.). 

If you’re not using previous sources, you can cite them too. But do not recycle them completely, as that would be considered self-plagiarism. 

  • Footnote As You Go 

Even when writing a rough draft, it’s wise to insert footnotes – at least one every paragraph, and ideally even more. 

These footnotes aim not only to offer accurately formatted citation information but also adequate information to remind you of the resources you’ve used. At this stage, avoid using terms like ‘id’ or ‘ibid’ for referring to prior citations. Rather, insert the name of the sources in every footnote so that you can remember where the information came from, even if you later move every sentence around the paper. 

  • Add Significant Value 

Do not try to use all the information you find in your sources while writing the law essay. Try adding value to the topic by incorporating some of your vital insights. This will help you score high anyway. 

It demonstrates that you know what you are speaking of. You can only do this by researching thoroughly until you reach a point where all the information clicks. 

  • Remember Internet is Just a Source 

Just because you found something on the web and not in a law book doesn’t imply you can use the information without referencing it. Be incredibly careful with this one, as it is still someone else’s original work. You will need to cite the online sources you use to prevent plagiarism. 

Summing Up, 

When you’re truly committed to crafting an amazing legal essay, tackling the plagiarism issue won’t be that challenging, especially if you implement certain strategies mentioned above. 

Simply have the right mindset and focus on being as authentic as possible. Before you realize it, your paper will be flawlessly plagiarism—free. Good luck! 

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