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62% of Cambridge Law Students Admit to Plagiarism

The Chronicle of Higher Education blog reports that "Half the students at the University of Cambridge have plagiarized, according to results of a survey by Varsity, a student newspaper at the university.... Law students, the newspaper said, broke the rules most often, with 62 percent admitting that they had plagiarized."

In response to the story, Legal Blog Watch asks

So what's up with law students? Is it the training to rely on precedent -- which encourages us to cut and paste quotes and holding from other cases -- that makes law students more prone to plagiarism? Are law students under more stress, and therefore, more tempted to cut corners or cheat? Or does our profession just encourage dishonest actors?

As one commenter points out, the study was taken by UK students and in the UK the study of law is usually undertaken at a much younger age. So it's unclear how accurate an indicator might it be of law students in the US.


Plagiarism is surely a delicate issue and students aspiring to be lawyers must show good examples.

The advent of computer makes things easier. By just clicking the buttons you get to paste, cut or copy lengthy decisions or discussions of cases. Law school can be very stressful. No wonder most law students resort to this.

It is not uncommon for people to commit plagiarism these days. As mentioned, technology makes it easy. And nothing is "genuinely original" nowadays. However, custom doesn't make it right. At least these students are honest enough to admit they've committed an act of dishonesty.

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