I am not an ethicist. Thus, unlike the New York Times column, I do not purport to know the answers. I will post my own as well as those submitted. From time to time I may say what I think but this Blog is primarily for the contributions of others.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Double Dip?

Dear Law School Ethicist:

I know these letters involve faculty but maybe you can respond to this. I am finishing my second year of law school and I am on law review. I just finished my note and it will not be published. Now I am registering for third year courses. I see  one that dovetails nicely with my law review note. Since I have done most of the research already, I think I can sign up for the seminar and write a paper based on this research and perhaps even use some of the writing.  Two questions. Is it ethical for me to do this? You will probably say I should ask the Professor. But I am wondering, if I ask and he says yes does that mean it becomes ethical? I still would not be doing as much work as the other students Thanks.


  1. IMO (not a professor): It's the 2L's work. Attorney's use contracts they created for earlier clients and adapt them to current clients needs. as long as it's not a complete cut and paste job and the student is developing his or her ideas further, I don't see an issue with use of some of the writing as long as its not a reiteration of the same thesis (safer with it being the launchpad material or necessary filler). Doubly true if the professor gives the ok as ethics is relative to cultural normative morality, and in this case the professor and the school honor code is the adjudicator on this sort of thing. Make sure to get the Professor's OK in writing- some of them seem to forget these sorts of things.

  2. The journal already credited you for the note. The professor in the seminar, like you, knows that double dipping is iffy, so neither of you should pursue that route in my opinion. Write a second paper and earn the second credits.