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Allen & Overy trainee ‘sacked’ by student news website over allegations he plagiarised Financial Times article

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Magic circle giant remains tight-lipped

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A news website has announced on Facebook that it has “sacked” one of its writers, Sachin Parathalingam, over an article he wrote for the site. According to the former writer’s LinkedIn, he is a King’s College, Cambridge, law graduate and an Allen & Overy trainee.

In a statement posted on its Facebook (screenshotted below), The Tab Cambridge told its followers an article about “the Judge Business school” has been taken down. Its writer, Parathalingam (pictured top), “has since been contacted and sacked”.

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Speaking to Legal Cheek this morning, Hannah Dawson and Rory Sachs, The Tab co-editors, said of their former colleague’s sacking:

We made the decision on this matter swiftly and internally to deal with the matter at hand.

Parathalingam has not responded to Legal Cheek’s request for comment. Allen & Overy has declined to comment.

So what was it that led writer and former editor Parathalingam to be fired?

Well, according to Facebook page Memebridge, 96% of the 551 words in the article in question matched a Financial Times piece published on 30 January on the same topic. The page credits Cambridge student Arshad Balwa for “catching this”.

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Though the offending article has been removed, the Legal Cheek team wanted to see it for ourselves. We did some digging in the Google Cache and retrieved it, and include a screenshot below.

Screeen

The article seems to be almost identical to the FT’s piece. Take a look at this side-by-side comparison, for example. You can compare the articles here and here.

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In Easter 2016, Parathalingam ran, unsuccessfully, for president of the Cambridge Union. Speaking to The Tab at the time, he said he had lied to his Director of Studies about not doing well in his exams because he was ill. “The real reason”, he said “was too many distractions in Cambridge, and interesting things to do outside of my degree.” Parathalingam went on to obtain a first class law masters from the elite university in 2016.

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118 Comments

Anonymous

Parathalingam Blacker & Shiner LLP.

Has a nice ring to it…

(54)(5)

Anonymous

Parathalingam Blacker & Shiner LLP.

Has a nice ring to it don’t you think?

(39)(1)

Roll on Friday Team

We think “Pot, Kettle and Black” would make a good name.

Don’t you think so, LC?

(47)(4)

Anonymous

This is why Legal Cheek is brilliant. Sorry for pointing out the obvious but that comment is very funny.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

There was no need to contact A&O.

(120)(17)

LKY

Hi Sachin, you plagiarizer, you!

(23)(12)

Anonymous

Katie King, everybody. Willing to torpedo someone else’s career because hers is dead in the water already.

(166)(18)

Liu Kang

Fatality!!!

(14)(1)

Trumpenkrieg

Eh dont worry so much for him. Neil Gorsuch started a club called Fascism Forever in high school and now he’s on the US Supreme Court.

(4)(4)

Putler

I don’t recall him being voted in yet you gimp.

(3)(0)

Trumpenkrieg

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(7)

Corbynismo

Fuck off you anti-Semite c*nt.

Trumpenkrieg

Your house is not exactly in order in this particular respect, is it?

Anonymous

Pot, kettle. Look at your idol Trumpenputler, he’s doing wonders for the US alright.

Dumb fuck.

Trumpenkrieg

I would define shutting down immigration from the countries that produce the highest quotas of terrorists a wonder, yes.

And stay on topic: anti-Semitism in the Labour party!

Anonymous

Pretty vindictive to infiltrate his life and try fuck up multiple aspects of it by contacting A&O for something that is literally a storm in a teacup……. get some perspective……

(35)(3)

Anonymous

Surely A&O would have found out anyway when the SRA look into him?

(1)(3)

Not a fan of Katie King

Nice of you to go to A&O Katie. Real nice.

(107)(15)

#grass

Hey, Snitchy!!!

(6)(2)

PBB law Schooler

Yeh it was rogue what he did, but seriously, why go to A&O/ make this so public? Plus there are so many inaccuracies in this article too.

(67)(11)

Professor Shiney

One would hope that Cambridge University will now be having a look back through young Sachin’s essays over the years…

(31)(17)

Anonymous

I’m sure that wont be necessary – all submissions are generally done via turnitin / submission software that has automatic plagiarism detection…… nice try at trying to open a new can of worms though….

(9)(9)

Anonymous

His LinkedIn says that he has an MA in law but that graduated in 2016. I didn’t go to Cambridge so I’m not quite sure how the BA converting to an MA thing works but I thought it took at least a few years after graduating before you can be awarded the MA? In any event he didn’t obtain a ‘first class law masters’ because the MA isn’t a postgraduate qualification.

(18)(4)

Anonymous

I sort of agree, but his LinkedIn says that he has an MA in law but that graduated in 2016. I didn’t go to Cambridge so I’m not quite sure how the BA converting to an MA thing works but I thought it took at least a few years after graduating before you can be awarded the MA? In any event he didn’t obtain a ‘first class law masters’ because the MA isn’t a postgraduate qualification.

(16)(2)

Anonymouse

first funny comment on this site

(2)(3)

Anonymous

You are eligible for a Cambridge MA seven years after matriculation. So if he graduated in 2016 after a three-year BA in law, he will not get his MA until 2020 at the earliest. You don’t automatically just get the MA, you have to pay about £30, hire a hood and gown and do the whole spiel all over again. Bit weird of him to fast-forward and already put down MA though, even if it is academically worthless.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Really? I got mine for free. Also, graduands are welcome to turn up to the ceremony, but if you don’t then they just publish your name in a list of everyone that didn’t attend in person,

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Fair enough yeah, you pay if you actually attend the ceremony and ‘after-party’ at college

(0)(1)

Anonymous

I was on the same A&O Vac scheme as Sachin, in Spring 2016. He graduated in 2016. I’m pretty sure he’s only just started the LPC too.

(6)(1)

Anonymous

Yes, he is doing LPC currently

(4)(0)

Salacious Stories

Apparently he’s been passing gas all day long after this story came out. People in the BPP Consortium Common Room had to call security for assistance with the smell.

(7)(1)

Oops

As you presumably know, A&O aren’t a consortium firm

Anonymous

He was class of 2013 in Cambridge so the earliest he can get a Cambridge MA is 2019 (six years after first term of residence). However, A&O do the LPC that also gives you an MA. He might mean that?

(4)(0)

Professor Shiney

Isn’t it still £10 for the Masters?

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Totally unprofessional of Ms King , playing at being a journalist . No need to contact A&O – what was the point ?

(41)(23)

Anonymous

If the allegation is correct then it demonstrates dishonesty. It is in the public interest that such allegations about solicitors are investigated.

(29)(13)

Anonymous

Sigh, dishonesty?

Yeah, sure? If he can lie to a student mag over something this trivial, A&O clients should be concerned about his future legal practice?

Foxtrot oscar you pleb

(13)(26)

Anonymous

Hi Sachin.

(29)(1)

Anonymous

If he decides to lie over something this trivial, then clients should definitely be concerned.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Maybe contact his Landlord too? His bank manager, his parents…..ya know, all his important relationships ??? Because that’s the obvious and decent thing to do.

Despite the obvious sarcasm above, I hope you can register from the comments that going to A and O was the wrong thing to do. Or at least register it secretly to yourself on your conscience. I’m sure publicly, you will assert that it was totally appropriate to bring basic student incidents to his employers attention…….you actually have a lot of responsibility to the subjects of your stories and you showed a lack of judgment and total disregard. The fact that A and O did not choose to dignify your “request for comment” with a response speaks volumes. Possibly because they regard it as a non – issue? You deserve to be ignored.

For the record, I am not Sachin.

(16)(8)

Jen

Surely you know that a no comment from an organisation is standard procedure when something bad has happened, not a sign of disinterest.

(11)(2)

Anonymous

It’s not standard procedure.

Ignoring petty shit stirrers however, is standard procedure.

(2)(9)

Anonymous

❄️️❄️️❄️️😰

Anonymous

I don’t get this criticism of Ms King.

On the face of it the bloke has committed a serious breach of copyright – in public.

It shows at the very least spectacularly poor judgement.

Why shouldn’t A&O be made aware of it?

(46)(39)

Anonymous

I bet she was a right tell-take at school!

(13)(7)

Anonymous

*tale

(6)(0)

Cecilia

Yes, and she was the only girl in the dorm who still wore nappies to bed.

(2)(1)

Katie King

They weren’t nappies!

They were pull-ups!

There is a difference!

Trumpenkrieg

Serious breach? The original article itself reads like a rehash of a press release.

(10)(2)

Pantman

I suppose by serious one means ‘obvious’. A simple ‘breach’ might be paraphrasing it.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Agreed. But a lot of people don’t know that much of what the media publish these days is just a re-hash of press releases. Only columnists, reviewers and investigative journalists bother producing original ideas these days.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

You could never expect an original idea from Katie mate. Too much brainpower involved.

(4)(2)

Anonymous

Is it possible that FT and this dude both “plagiarised” (i.e. used) the same press release (which journos do all the time)? Or am I trying too hard to give him the benefit of the doubt?

Get it right

He hasn’t breached copyright. You infringe copyright.

(4)(2)

BREXIT MEANS BREXIT

Whatta choppa. A&O ought to boot him out.

(14)(17)

Anonymous

Like LC doesnt rip off ROF on a daily basis.

(52)(6)

SingaporeSwing

True.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Katie, this is rich coming from you. Remember the drama over that ‘The 12 types of law student who exist in modern Britain’ article that LC had you rip off of a Cambridge student doing work experience because he wouldn’t give it to you for free?

(39)(10)

Anonymous

A certain Alan Hennessy comes to mind…

LC completely muzzled him as well as far as I recall, deleting all trace of his comments and articles. Rats…

(15)(3)

Proudman

Hi Alan! x

(8)(2)

Anonymous

Sachin’s fellow Cantabrigians out in full force on LC today I see… Good to know the old clique can be relied on for damage control!

(26)(17)

Look at this putz

Hard to do ‘damage control’ by posting inane comments on LC mate, especially when the damage is already long done.

(1)(1)

fountainjun

Katie, this absolutely horrible and is really scraping the barrel. There is absolutely no need for you to contact someone’s current employer because of some silly mistake they may have made while working at a student newspaper at university. Don’t you realise, or do you simply not care, that doing so can have serious repercussions in this young man’s life?

I wonder if you’ve realised yet that you have no hope of securing a training contract or pupillage. No decent firm or chambers would risk taking you after all the salacious, poisonous bullcrap you’ve written.

Good luck Katie, I think you’ll need it.

(60)(20)

Nigel Farage's 2nd chin

You do realise he ‘wrote’ this article last week?

(14)(17)

Dongbang

Oh boy I’d luv me some salacious stuff from Katie…

(3)(0)

Oxford Boy

The Cambridge lot are absolutely fuming at this 😂

(15)(6)

Exetah boi (training at Jones Dayy)

Shows you what a shyte school it really is.

(7)(5)

Liverpule m8

It’s a long way down for these Cantab types…

(6)(2)

Viscount Carrickblacker

If he is claiming to have a Masters that he doesn’t yet have, then is this not somewhat akin to the defalcations of the great Lard Harley of Blackadder…?

Should the SRA be informed of these issues…?

(12)(2)

Does not actually know Katie King

People piling in on Katie here are acting very strangely.

Plagiarism – and let’s not beat about the bush, this is exactly what this guy got up to – is serious. Anyone doing it commits a fundamental dishonest act: passing off someone else’s work and effort for their own, in order to somehow gain from it.

It is a sign that the man is prepared to be dishonest, whatever his motivation may be (in this particular case, probably laziness). If he’d done it during an undergrad exam and got caught, he’d be kicked out, pure and simple.

A&O, in its capacity as the guy’s (apparent future, rather than current) employer, has every right to know that someone on the payroll has a history of dishonesty. The argument that Katie has somehow done a bad thing in alerting a law firm, which has its own duties not to have dishonest solicitors on its books, is preposterous. The firm isn’t stupid – it would have found out somehow or other.

And let’s do away with the youthful indiscretion bullshit. We’re talking about a Cambridge grad doing something which is flat out unacceptable. If someone of his age and capacity can’t be held responsible for this kind of thing, who can?

I hope it’s the guy himself and/or his mates making these snide comments and upvoting them. If not, some of the readers of Legal Cheek are very dim indeed, and perhaps might need to read up on the sort of conduct that the SRA views as unacceptable.

(72)(19)

Anonymous

WOW. Finally a half decent comment on LC!

(17)(5)

Anonymous

Oh f**k off. What a ridiculous overreaction.

This guy for whatever reason couldn’t be bothered and threw a few hundred words he got from the FT at a student mag no-one reads. Hardly the crime of the century. This is as trivial as it gets, and it’s a far stretch to go from lying to a student mag to unfitness for future legal practice.

(29)(38)

Adam Deen (soon to be NQ at Jones Day)

Hi Sachin you gimp.

(27)(2)

Anonymous

The SRA have struck people off for far more trivial things than this unfortunately.

(9)(3)

Anonymous

Like what?!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Like whipping out their cock in the office and masterbating furiously. Or talking about graphite shafts and gash. Oops.

Judge Gavel

I hope this shyster gets struck off. You cock up like this, you deserve to pay the price.

(9)(0)

View from a high horse

When the author of this article gets a TC or P – would it be correct to collate examples of the authors own plagiarism and let their future employers know?

(8)(2)

Anonymous

Don’t worry mate, the author is never getting close to anything resembling a TC/P.

(9)(4)

Anonymous

Finally, some accurate law. To expand the discussion beyond just lawyers: Plagiarism – typically defined as passing off another’s ideas or expression as one’s own, intentionally or to gain an advantage – is generally treated as a serious violation of institutional, professional, or occupational ethical standards. To plagiarize or falsely deny plagiarism may mark a person’s unfitness for particular employment or advancement. For students, it can lead to a failing grade and expulsion; for educators, to censure, suspension, or dismissal for academic misconduct; for professionals and those in positions of trust, to denial of entry to an occupation or expulsion. This is because plagiarism signals unreliability, self-aggrandisement, defective character, or dishonesty, and thus undermines callings which aim to protect the public, maintain standards, encourage trust, and deter cheating. To call someone a plagiarist is therefore defamatory, and a false denunciation may itself be grounds for discipline.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Keep going with your poor attempt at journalism Katie King because at this rate, even Irwin Mitchell wouldn’t give you a TC and even a dead squirrel could get a TC there

(11)(19)

Irwin Mitchell Partner

My team is composed of old leaves, some twigs, assorted pebbles and shells and a tame magpie. I don’t yet have a dead squirrel but I’m happy to read any applications I receive.

(12)(1)

Anonymous

This comment has been deleted as it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(1)

Comments are closed.