Legal Ethics

Mass. Appeals Court Lawyer Reportedly Offered to Write Term Paper for $300

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An undercover journalist researching the “shadowy underworld” of ghostwritten term papers says a senior staff attorney with the Massachusetts Appeals Court offered to write a term paper on physician-assisted suicide for $300.

The lawyer, Damian Bonazzolli, was one of 62 people who offered a price quote to the undercover journalist, who sent queries about a 20-page term paper to businesses and individuals advertising on Craiglist. The journalist, Colman Herman, got quotes ranging from $90 to $1,200, he wrote in an article in CommonWealth. Legal Blog Watch noted the story.

As part of his pitch for business, Bonazzolli sent along his resumé, according to the CommonWealth story. State records indicate he makes $94,000 a year working for the appeals court.

Bonazzolli told Herman in an interview that he was unaware of a Massachusetts law that bars the sale of term papers if the seller has reason to know they will be submitted as original work for academic credit. He said students should abide by the ethics code of their schools.

But in an earlier e-mail exchange with Herman, Bonazzolli asserted that no law bars the sale of term papers. “Could your school take disciplinary action? Of course,” Bonazzolli reportedly wrote. “But that’s quite different from a criminal prosecution.”

Bonazzolli did not immediately respond to a phone message by the ABA Journal seeking comment.

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