Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Journal Editor Resources: Researching Comments

This guide is intended to serve as a consolidation of content from several different guides to help Penn Law students as they approach the process of researching and writing a note or comment for their law journal.


"Plagiarism: using the ideas, data, or language of another without specific or proper acknowledgement."

--University of Pennsylvania Code of Academic Integrity


"It shall constitute a violation of [the Code of Student Conduct and Responsibility] for any student enrolled in the Law School purposefully, knowingly, or recklessly to engage in . . . [t]he submission of plagiarized work in an academic pursuit including any use of another's work without attribution, whether such use be verbatim or merely conceptual or structural."

--University of Pennsylvania Law School, Code of Student Conduct and Responsibility

Consequences for Plagiarism

XII. Punishment and Publication

A.   For each act of misconduct in violation of the Code of Student Conduct and Responsibility, a student may be punished by any regulation of the offending student’s connection with the University. Possible punishments include, but are not limited to warning, reprimand, probation, exclusion from one or more specified Law School activities, deprivation of credit, suspension or expulsion. Punishment shall be determined by a majority vote of the Committee. 

. . . 

C.  Upon a finding of guilt, the Committee may order that any part of the proceedings, including the judgment and opinion, be entered in the student’s official Law School file.  Further, in accordance with applicable law, the judgment and opinion may be disseminated to bar examiners and employers. A statement summarizing the nature of the misconduct and its punishment shall be published upon final judgment without identifying the accused student, except where, for good cause stated in a report to the Committee on Student Conduct and Responsibility, the Dean or Dean’s representative decides to delay said publication. If the finding is “not guilty,” no record shall be made in the official file of the student of the charge or the proceedings related to it. 


--University of Pennsylvania Law School, Code of Student Conduct and Responsibility 

Avoiding Plagiarism

The University of Pennsylvania values academic integrity and can impose serious consequences for violations of the Code of Student Conduct and Responsibility, including plagiarism.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that you use proper attribution to sources in all your writing. This includes instances where you pull language directly from a source in the form of a quotation, but it also includes paraphrasing and other instances where someone else's work provided the foundational ideas or information that you relied on to formulate your own text. 

When in doubt, it is always better to include citations. If you have questions or concerns about plagiarism or making attribution, please contact a librarian.


Recommendations to help avoid plagiarism:

  • Keep good records of your research, including the bibliographic information for your sources
  • Always use quotation marks whenever you use language from a source document
  • Always insert a footnote after any quotation to provide attribution
  • If you use text from a source, but alter it in some way, you must indicate this
    • Review Bluebook Rules 5.2-5.3 for guidance on alterations and omissions in quoted material