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'Plagiarism Accusation Cost Me BigLaw Jobs,' Harvard Law Grad Claims

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on May 15, 2012 6:05 AM

A Harvard Law grad is suing her alma mater over a reprimand for plagiarism -- a false finding that's left her unable to find a job, her suit claims.

Megon Walker, a 2009 Harvard Law grad, blames a computer virus for destroying a draft of her law journal article, Courthouse News Service reports. The journal's student-editors allegedly promised to let Walker revise the article because of the virus, according to her lawsuit.

But instead, the editors treated her draft as a final version and then accused her of plagiarism for failing to cite sources. The resulting reprimand has acted like a "scarlet letter" of sorts, costing Walker some lucrative job opportunities -- including a $160,000/year offer from a BigLaw firm, her lawsuit claims.

Megon Walker is suing her former editors for allegedly "inducing" Harvard Law to breach her rights by wrongfully turning her in for plagiarism.

Walker is also suing Harvard Law for allegedly failing to follow its own procedures at her disciplinary hearing.

In addition, Harvard and the student-editors defamed Walker with false findings of plagiarism, Walker's suit claims. She's also suing for negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Walker's plagiarism reprimand caused a BigLaw firm to rescind its $160,000/year job offer, her lawsuit claims. Walker was hired by another BigLaw firm -- but was then urged to resign because of Harvard's plagiarism finding, she asserts.

Since then, the accomplished scholar -- who earned a bachelor's in biotechnology at age 19 and holds a Ph.D. in bioinformatics -- claims she's been unable to find work.

Megon Walker now wants Harvard Law to clear her record of the allegedly false plagiarism finding. She's also seeking money damages to be determined.

Harvard and the former editors declined to comment about Megon Walker's lawsuit over her plagiarism reprimand. Her suit was filed in federal court in Massachusetts.

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