Plagiarism — the use of someone else’s words or ideas in writing without proper attribution — is one of the easiest ways to ruin your academic or professional reputation. Just ask Senator John Walsh, whose Master’s degree from the United States War College was rescinded after it was discovered that he copied large portions of his final thesis without attribution. Or Benny Johnson, the BuzzFeed writer who was dismissed after Twitter users pointed out dozens of examples in his articles of “sentences or phrases copied word for word from other sites.”
As a law student, being scrupulous about avoiding plagiarism is particularly important, as a plagiarism violation could be used as evidence of poor “character and fitness” when you apply for admission to the bar. For lawyers already in practice, plagiarism can be grounds for professional discipline.