If you have been in this business long you know the importance seeking out the other side of the story and getting the facts straight. Nevertheless, as I recall, the work or language of others has been found in things written by Lawrence Tribe and, now, Ian Ayres (see Sunday’s NYT’s book review section). In England, fiction writers Julian Barnes and, again, if my memory serves, Ian McEwan, have also had the words of others show up in their own work. Although McEwan and Barnes seem to argue that lifting from others is standard procedure, in the case of law professors I do not see how it can be anything but carelessness. If Tribe and Ayres need anything it is certainty not outside assistance when it comes to writing or ideas.
My first thought on reading about these incidences of carelessness is "But for the grace of God . . . . " But then I wonder what are the rules with respect to inadvertent copying? Are they different depending on how much the copiers are liked or how high they are placed? Does the rank of the person from whom the words were taken figure into this? My very small sample suggests the rules do change depending on the ordering of the copiers and those copied.