Law student says “SUE ME – I DARE YOU” to law magazine
Lay off my intellectual property, says Fitz student
Allan Hennessy, a Cambridge journalist and law student who did work experience at Legal Cheek, a law magazine, has accused its editor of stealing his work for a piece published here.
Hennessy claimed in a post liked by 500 of his friends:
The Editor at Legal Cheek asked to see my article so I sent it to him. He emailed me on my last day of work experience to ask if he could publish the piece, but I declined his offer because I had been offered a fee for it by The Guardian. He then asked me not to come in on my final day because I didn’t give him the article. I asked him to destroy the piece from his hard drive, but he has since altered the piece and published it under a different name. In an attempt to shut me up, he threatened to sue me under the laws of defamation if I spoke out against this despicable act. But my message to you, Alex Aldridge, is clear: sue me – I dare you. Pathetic, cheap and tacky.
While the article doesn’t include any copy and pasted text, Hennessy told The Tab: “The Legal Cheek article is clearly inspired by my work. Categories such as The Charlotte Proudmanite, The GDL Trustafarian, The Human Rights Sell Out, The Corporate Layer, the Ruthless Compartmentaliser, and The One Who Did Law on a Whim are suspiciously similar to the article I sent Alex.”
The Editor of Legal Cheek claimed that he had come up with the idea himself, then asked Hennessy to write it while on work experience: “I suggested the idea (although the ‘types of law students’ theme is hardly a new one), discussed it with him, advised on headings and the wider content, and asked him to include certain key points.
“However, when I declined to immediately publish Allan’s completed article on Legal Cheek due to a number of time-sensitive stories, Allan was disappointed.
“He subsequently informed me that he had been commissioned by a newspaper to write an article on a separate topic and did not attend Legal Cheek’s offices again. He was not “sacked”. He then claimed to have sold his ‘types of law students’ piece to a rival publication and informed me that it would be running over the weekend.”
The Editor of Legal Cheek told us he “instructed one of [his] reporters to write her own ‘types of law students’ piece”, and that “Other than where the reporter has followed my express instructions to include certain key points (some of which I also told Allan to include in the piece he wrote) it’s very clearly her own work.”
He added: “I edited the article and take full responsibility for it.”
Hennessy disputed the Editor’s series of events and said he was writing the piece – which he had previously pitched to The Guardian – on his lunch break.
“This is an unequivocal lie: in an email to Alex, I made it clear that I was hoping to publish the article in a few weeks time and I told him it was for The Guardian. As for not coming into the office again, Alex instructed me to go off and interview several prominent figures in the legal sector which I did.”
Earlier in the term Hennessy was accused of plagiarising material for one of his own articles published in The Independent. He hyperlinked and quoted unoriginal work which was inadvertently presented as his own work.
He assures us, though, that within minutes he contacted the editor to fix the problem and we take this account to be true.
More than just a lawsuit, Hennessy also wants to be reimbursed for his travel expenses.