Legal writing is something that’s clear, concise, and, most of all, accurate. But what if there is plagiarism in it? It might decrease its credibility.
In today’s article, we will discuss what plagiarism is, and then we will look at how you can avoid it in legal writing. Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
What is Plagiarism?
Before we dive into anything, let’s discuss what plagiarism is. Plagiarism is basically taking someone else work and sharing or showing it as your own.
In simple words, using someone’s work as your own means plagiarism.
Plagiarism is considered a crime and can harm your reputation if found in your work. So you need to keep it in mind.
Types Of Plagiarism
Did you know there are also types of plagiarism? Let’s take a look at those.
- Duplicate publication – It means if the same thing is published on multiple websites, it’s a common type of Plagiarism. This really doesn’t have to be a concern in legal writing.
- Accidental plagiarism – This is the most common type of plagiarism, and it happens when a writer plagiarizes someone else’s work without realizing it.
- Mosaic plagiarism – This happens when you copy a sentence/dialogue from another source and don’t write it in quotation marks nor give them credit.
- Direct plagiarism – Let’s say you copy a paragraph or a sentence from someone else work, and you don’t give credit to them; it will be considered direct plagiarism. This one has the worst consequences.
- Paraphrasing plagiarism – This means you are using someone else work but rephrasing it before using it in your writing. Sometimes, it’s detectable, and you might face serious consequences
These are just a few of the many types of plagiarism. Make sure you avoid all of those in your writing.
Consequences of Plagiarism in Legal Writing
Now, let’s look at the consequences you might face if there is plagiarism in your legal writing.
1. Royalty Payments
The most common punishment for plagiarism in legal writing is that you will have to pay a royalty payment to the person you plagiarized.
Basically, you’ll need to pay the profits that you earned on that specific writing to the original owner of the writing.
2. Court Sanctions
Court sanctions are basically the penalties that you might have to pay. It can be in the form of money or something else, depending on the case.
There was a case when an attorney was caught plagiarizing. The punishment was a sanction of $750.
3. Copyright Lawsuits
It’s possible that you might face copyright lawsuits. These are really high for popular people, so if you are one, don’t even think of copying someone else work, or you might have to fight a huge lawsuit, which can go up to $100 million, as once it did for Oprah Winfrey. If you want to read more about it, read it here.
4. Possible Imprisonment Sentence
The most serious punishment you might face is getting a prison sentence. That sounds really scary, right? But that has happened to people. Plagiarism is considered a very big deal in many institutes and courts. So make sure you avoid it.
These are some of the most common and serious consequences of plagiarizing someone else work.
How to Avoid and Fix Plagiarism in Legal Writing?
Now you know what plagiarism is and the consequences you might face if there is plagiarism found in your Legal writing, it’s time to look at the ways to avoid plagiarism in legal writing.
Conduct Thorough Research And Make Notes
The best way to avoid plagiarism in legal writing is to do proper research before writing and take notes of the important information you must include in your legal writing. Also, note down the sources where you are getting the information.
Now, when you start writing, make sure you don’t copy the same words. Write your own statement using the notes you have made, and make sure to add a link to the source. The source is where you got the information.
This will increase the credibility of your text as well as you’ll be giving them credit, so basically, you’ll be able to avoid plagiarism.
Using Quotations And Citations Appropriately
If you ever have to take some information from a website, make sure you are adding citations for it. This way, you’ll be giving them credit, which means you are not plagiarizing the content anymore.
For quotations, do the same thing. If you ever have to include the quotations, make sure you are adding the reference to the original owner of the quote to avoid plagiarism.
In some situations, you have to use someone else content in your writing, and you can’t give credit. In this situation, don’t simply copy and paste their text. You will need to paraphrase it in order to use it in your legal writing.
Paraphrasing means describing something using different words. And if you are paraphrasing a piece of text correctly, it won’t be counted as plagiarism.
Guidelines for proper paraphrasing
It’s difficult to paraphrase text if you don’t know the right way. For this reason, here are some steps that you can follow to paraphrase text:
- Change the words, and replace them with synonyms
- Change the sentence order/structure in the text
- Change the tone or the voice of the text
These are the steps that experts suggest when they are paraphrasing your text. It will help you make your text unique and avoid plagiarism.
Using Plagiarism Detection Tools
Now it’s time to check if there is plagiarism in your writing. For this purpose, you can use an online plagiarism detection tool. A plagiarism detection tool will tell you if any part of your writing is plagiarism by scanning for matches between your legal writing and billions of web pages.
It’s really easy to use a plagiarism detection tool. All you need to do is import your text into the tool, and there will be a button to check for plagiarism. As simple as that!
Using Plagiarism Removal Tools (If Required)
If a plagiarism detection tool has shown plagiarism in your content, it’s where a plagiarism remover tool comes in. These tools will rephrase your text to remove plagiarism without you putting in manual effort. Using a Plagiarism removal tool is similar to using a plagiarism detection tool. All you have to do is:
- Go to a Plagiarism Remover
- Paste the text
- Click on ‘Remove Plagiarism’
This is how you can fix plagiarism in your legal writing.
So there you have it! We discussed the actual definition of plagiarism, the consequences that you might face if there is plagiarism in your content, as well as the best ways to avoid plagiarism.
We hope this article has delivered its purpose and helped you in avoiding plagiarism in your legal writing. Thanks for reading!