AUSTIN (CN) – An attorney claims another lawyer plagiarized his copyrighted article, “It’s the Client, Stupid,” and published it in the National Law Journal. After he complained, he says, the second lawyer apologized, sort of, then re-plagiarized the article for another journal, and swiped another piece and published it as his own in a book.
William J. Flannery Jr. dba The WJF Institute sued Edward Poll in Federal Court. Flannery and his company advise attorneys how to get clients.
In 1994, he says, he wrote a “work,” called “Client Development and Relationship Management.”
The work included articles titled “20 Questions You Should Ask Current and Prospective Clients,” and “It’s the Client, Stupid,” according to the complaint.
California-based attorney Edward Poll runs a similar business through his website, and also writes articles for his own business, Flannery says.
Flannery says he gave the American Bar Association license to reprint “It’s the Client, Stupid” in November 2000, in a book that Poll edited for the association.
Flannery says it was clear that the Bar Association – not Poll – got the license to reprint. But Flannery says the National Law Journal published “a substantially identical version” of the article, listing Poll as author, in May 2002.
Flannery says he complained to the journal, which agreed to issue reprints crediting him as the author.
He says he also complained to Poll, who wrote him a letter “apparently contending that the 2000 license to the American Bar Association was to him personally, and therefore he could authorize use by the National Law Journal,” and claiming that his own piece was “an adaptation” of Flannery’s. He said Poll asked him, in the letter, to “‘forgive the inadvertent omission of credit,'” and said that he “‘shall be more vigilant to assure that it does not occur again.'”
Flannery says he let it ride.
But last month, Flannery says, he found that Poll had republished the piece twice since then, in the ABA online publication, “Law Practice today,” in 2004, and on Poll’s own website, both times credited to Poll.
Flannery says he complained immediately to the ABA, “which acknowledged the unauthorized use, and removed the article from its website.”
But that’s not all, Flannery says.
“In July 2011, plaintiff discovered Mr. Poll had appropriated another of his articles, ’20 Questions You Should Ask Current and Prospective Clients.’ Specifically, Mr. Poll authored a book entitled ‘Attorney & Law Firm Guide to The Business of Law: Planning and Operating for Survival and Growth.’ The book included a substantially identical version of plaintiff’s article,” Flannery says.
Enough’s enough, Flannery says. He seeks damages for copyright infringement, and unfair competition. He also wants an injunction to permanently enjoin Poll from using his articles.
Flannery is represented by Justin Welch.