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Protecting the Rights of College Students Accused of Plagiarism

  • Case Results
  • Testimonials
  • List of Schools
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Case Results

Here are some representative results we’ve achieved for our clients.

Female complainant’s rights, health, and safety protected throughout lengthy proceedings

Our client was sexually assaulted by a male student acquaintance. We became involved to support our client in getting proper medical treatment, preserving and collecting evidence and witness testimony, and securing therapeutic support. We helped her understand and navigate the many complex options available to her, including a criminal complaint, an informal complaint process, a formal complaint process, or doing nothing. We guided her through the informal process and then the formal process, including interviews with various school and law enforcement officials, and worked closely with the school to put in place appropriate accommodations ensuring that all interviews and hearings did not retraumatize her. The male student was found responsible and was expelled.

Large private university

Witness to sexual violence protected from intimidation

We represented a female witness to a dating violence case on campus who was being pressured to speak with the police and the school investigators about a violent matter she had witnessed on her dorm floor. We immediately communicated on her behalf to the local police, school administrators, and the Title IX investigators to protect her right to choose to not testify and ensure her safety on campus. She was very relieved not to be pressured by the school, the title IX office or the police to attend the hearing and testify about fellow students.

Small private college

Investigation of sexual assault complaint concludes with no charges filed

Our client contacted us immediately upon receiving notice by his school that a claim of sexual assault was made against him by a female student. We assisted him in preparing his detailed answer to the complaint, and then prepared him and accompanied him to his interview with the campus safety police officers. We worked with the school Title IX administrators and helped our client find evidence to show inconsistencies with the complaint. The complainant withdrew her complaint when presented with these inconsistencies and then recanted. The investigation ended and our client was not charged with anything.

Midsized private college

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Client Testimonials

"I am writing to let any college student who gets accused of something serious by their school know that they need a lawyer like Felice Duffy to defend them.  I was accused of something terrible by a student that I would never do and didn’t do.  Even though I knew exactly what actually happened, I was very scared that my university might not find me innocent. It was terrifying to think that I might lose my full basketball scholarship or could have been suspended or expelled and that me and my family’s name could have gotten a horrible reputation. I can’t even put into words how I excited I was when I got the letter from the school that cleared me completely of the charges against me and I have Felice to thank for that 100%. Since I’m not in Connecticut, Felice and her investigator used video conferencing to interview me and my witnesses, talk with my parents, and get me fully prepared for every meeting I had with my school.  They got all my texts and email that proved my innocence and organized them perfectly for the Dean and the discipline committee. Felice was always very direct and respectful even though the subject matter was very personal, and she was always ahead of the school in terms of getting me and them important information at every step.  It was like having the best scouting report ever." Felice obviously knows her stuff but she also deeply cares.  You can tell that she loves the work she’s doing to help college kids in really difficult situations.

College Sophomre, Colorado

“The claims leveled against me were terrible, but the wonderful news is that I was fully cleared of all the allegations because of the outstanding work Christine Brown and the team at Duffy Law did on my behalf. The first thing that really impressed me was that from the very first call Christine quickly understood what was going on and was able to read between the lines to understand the complicated dynamics of the situation. Despite my entire career being spent in academia, I didn't know much about Title IX procedures. Her expertise and knowledge of the process was immediately apparent and critically helpful in guiding me and giving me as much peace of mind as possible.. Christine knew how to spot the important subtext throughout the process and made sure I understood the strategic options I had at every stage going forward. I felt very confident in the decisions we made together. I felt vindicated by the decision and that this situation will have no further effects on my career. I am very grateful to Christine and Duffy Law for guiding me through this stressful process and recommend them without reservation to any faculty member facing a similarly challenging situation. ”

Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine at a midwest university

“I hired Felice Duffy in the middle of a Title IX sexual assault proceeding. While I had initially retained another attorney on a recommendation, it turns out they did not have much insight to the inner workings of university policy, which I learned is NOT required to follow the basic laws of due process. Felice was absolutely incredible, and as an athlete, she understood my thought process and feelings the entire way. This is what stood out the most to me. At the beginning of my school’s adjudication process, I was an absolute mess. Not only is Felice extremely knowledgeable in law and how school adjudication processes work, but she also really does care about her clients and their well-being. It was initially extremely tough for me to speak about what I was facing. Felice was able to assist me not only in compiling the proper evidence and responding to the school, but also put me in the right state of mind to defend myself and move on with my life after it was all completed. Prior to hiring Duffy Law, I was concerned that I would be relegated to working with a legal assistant or secretary being that my case was in a college setting as opposed to a state court. However, Felice always found a way to make time and was there every step of the way. I feel like an important part of hiring an attorney is being able to trust them to fight for you no matter what the scenario may be and you can rest assured you will be getting that with Duffy Law. I would recommend Felice Duffy of Duffy Law 10 times out of 10 to anyone that may be put in a tough situation like I was”

Female College Freshman, Massachusetts

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Schools Where We've Handled Cases

Here are just some of the schools where we’ve represented students, faculty, coaches, and staff:

  • Amherst College
  • Arkansas State University
  • Belmont Abbey College
  • Bowling Green State University
  • Charter Oak State College
  • Colgate University
  • College of the Holy Cross
  • Columbia University
  • Connecticut College
  • Creighton Law School
  • Dartmouth College
  • Fairfield University
  • Flagler College
  • Florida State University
  • Furman University
  • Guilford College
  • Howard University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Indiana University
  • Lesley University
  • Louisiana State University
  • Marist College
  • Marquette University
  • Miami University
  • Mississippi University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Plymouth State University
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rice University
  • Sacred Heart University
  • South Carolina State University
  • St. John's University
  • St. Lawrence University
  • Syracuse University
  • Swarthmore College
  • Tallahassee Comm. College
  • Touro University
  • Trinity College
  • Tufts University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Lynchburg
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Mass. Med. School
  • University of Miami
  • University of Missouri
  • University of Northern Colorado
  • University of Texas
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
  • Utah University School of Medicine
  • Vassar College
  • Virginia Wesleyan University
  • Washington University, St. Louis
  • Wesleyan University
  • Westfield State University
  • Western Washington University
  • Wheaton College
  • William Smith College
  • Yale University

Alert: Biden Orders Fresh Look at Title IX Regulations

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On March 8, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order requiring the Department of Education (“DOE”) to review federal regulations, orders and guidance put in place under the Trump administration that apply to how educational institutions handle complaints of sexual misconduct. The DOE will evaluate whether those regulations are “consistent with the policies” of the current administration. The executive order allows the DOE to suspend, revise, or rescind any or all the prior actions if they are found to be inconsistent. This review will likely result in another major shift in how colleges and universities across the nation handle sexual misconduct cases and alter the policies that schools enacted at their institutions in 2020. The attorneys at Duffy Law stay up-to-the-minute on all applicable Title IX regulations, as well as potential changes expected by mid-June, and are available to consult with you during this tumultuous time in Title IX law. The full Executive Order issued by President Biden can be found here.


All colleges and universities take academic honesty seriously and most schools enforce a no-tolerance policy against plagiarism. Plagiarism refers to taking the work, words, or ideas of another party and presenting them as your own. College codes of conduct categorize many different acts as “plagiarism”—including self-plagiarism.

If you were accused of any type of plagiarism, your academic and professional future is at stake. Protect your rights against wrongful allegations or overly harsh punishment by calling Duffy Law. The highly experienced Conduct Code attorneys at Duffy Law defend the rights of students accused of plagiarism, so call our office today if you would like to discuss your situation.

What Constitutes Plagiarism

Plagiarism can involve intentionally stealing words from others or even unintentionally forgetting to properly cite someone else’s words. If a student does not provide proper credit for the original source, the following may all constitute forms of plagiarism:

  • Direct quotes
  • Paraphrasing a quote
  • Summarizing ideas
  • Misrepresenting research or data
  • Forgery of research or data
  • Using another person’s complete work

In addition to the above, plagiarism accusations may arise if you simply make a mistake on a citation. Even if you intended to properly give credit for the work, a wrong citation could result in serious plagiarism repercussions.

Another form of plagiarism is called self-plagiarism, and it involves taking ideas that you have previously used in academic works or papers and presenting them again for another assignment without properly citing the information. Many students may believe that using their own ideas again is perfectly acceptable since they are not copying anyone else’s work. However, all students should realize that many colleges prohibit this as part of their anti-plagiarism provisions. Even if students check with professors first, they still may later find themselves accused of self-plagiarism.

Plagiarism and the Internet

While universities have always considered plagiarism academic misconduct, it has become a bigger and more common issue in recent years because of the ubiquity of the internet. The internet first gives students access to a wealth of information they otherwise might never have found through book research. A quick Google search will reveal hundreds of websites that may address a paper or research topic, giving students more sources to choose from—and more opportunities to make mistakes regarding citations.

In addition, the internet has given professors the tools to check papers for plagiarism in a few seconds. Plagiarism checkers scan the depths of the internet and point out any instances in which content is not unique. This could consist of entire paragraphs, sentences, or even strings of words, and the plagiarism checker will show the source website for that information. This makes it all too simple for professors to find any possible indications of plagiarism and make accusations.

Even if you believe your work is original, there is a chance that a sentence or phrase is too similar to other content on the internet without you even knowing. All students should put their own papers through an online plagiarism checker before turning them in to ensure they did not unintentionally commit plagiarism.

Consequences for Plagiarism

A plagiarism accusation can result in drastic consequences for any student. The consequences that you may face will depend on your school’s academic honesty policies as well as the nature of the accusations against you. Some sanctions can include:

  • An F on the assignment
  • An F for the class
  • Administrative withdrawal from the class
  • Suspension from school
  • Expulsion from school

Any of the above can hurt your future and make it difficult to transfer to a different college, obtain scholarships, get accepted to graduate programs, apply for professional licenses, and more. An F can destroy a GPA in one fell swoop, and a student may never be able to get that GPA back to where it once was.

While an administrative withdrawal does not necessarily hurt your GPA, you can bet that anyone reviewing your transcript as part of an application will question you about it. Some grad programs or licensure boards will not accept applicants with records of dishonesty.

A suspension or expulsion from school can leave you with unnecessary debt or even with a mountain of student loans, no degree, and few prospects for continuing your education. It is an understatement to say that plagiarism consequences can be serious.

What to Do if You’ve Been Accused

If a professor accuses you of plagiarism, you have the right to defend against these accusations and protect your academic record from negative marks. You may have a formal disciplinary hearing at which you can testify to your intentions and any honest mistakes that school officials have construed as plagiarism. These hearings can produce a lot of stress, however, with fewer rules and procedures than criminal hearings. Always discuss your situation with an experienced college student defense law firm that can help you craft your defense.

In some cases, a professor may try to offer a deal involving lesser consequences if the student will admit to and apologize for the plagiarism. However, a professor does not always have the discretion to make decisions regarding consequences of plagiarism. If you write an apology or admittance letter, the school may later use it against you at a formal hearing. Always check with an experienced lawyer before you agree to anything.

Contact Our Student Defense Attorneys to Discuss Your Rights Today

The highly knowledgeable Conduct Code attorneys at Duffy Law have represented many students accused of academic dishonesty or other codes of conduct violations. We know how seriously a mark on your record can hurt your future and will help you fight against allegations whenever possible. There is too much at stake for college students to not take plagiarism allegations seriously and protect their records by seeking legal counsel. If you are accused of plagiarism, please call an experienced defense lawyer at (203) 946-2000 or contact us online to set up a consultation.

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