What are the objectives of a law essay? Students demonstrate their research and writing skills, ability to make legal analysis and use legal acts to prove their arguments. However, there may be some difficulties with the understanding the requirements, writing legal style and working with legal materials.
Here are some tips on a good essay. Use them in your work and impress your tutor.
Structure and Organization
- Title. Think if a catchy title which creates interest of your audience. Set out a logical structure and section headings. Don’t forget to read all the instructions given by your professor. Maybe you need to pay attention on some historical facts or compare a certain legal act with the legislation of another country.
- Introduction containing background information. Refer to your question using key terms. A good introduction should present your thesis, introduce principal arguments, give some information about importance of the issue and lead into the main body. What is the purpose of your essay? What are the main questions and what can your readers expect? Does it review someone’s work?
- Body paragraphs. While writing the main body, students develop the case and make legal research and strong legal arguments. Support your claims and counter arguments. The main body of law essays may be divided into several paragraphs (one idea is addressed per paragraph). For each paragraph state the facts and rules and regulations (statutes, common law or precedents) you are going to apply.
- Conclusions. Sum up all your arguments and unit all the themes and ideas. A law school essay should contain the current position of the law, and a student should be aware of its latest amendments.
References to the law (i.e. stating a certain clause of an act or particular precedent) are crucial for any law essay. For example, according to Clause No…of the …Act dated… or Brown v. Smith, 347 U.S. 483 (1974).
If you write a constitutional law essay, it would be a good idea to compare some concepts with the legislation of another country. Criminal law essay involves using many legal cases on your topic. Refer to different precedents; maybe one of them would contradict the other.
Business law is a popular and wide spread major among students. Tutors often ask them to solve a certain practical issue in their business law essay, i.e. contradiction in contracts, tax issues, problems with employment, bankruptcy of companies.
Style and Plagiarism
Legal professional language is rather difficult for understanding. For example, lawyers use such complicated expressions like “unless stated otherwise”, “an act of God”, “hereunder” or Latin words like “inter alia”, “ad hoc” or “mutatis mutandis”. It would be good if you study them and use in your work.
Here are some tips about legal writing:
- Be clear and concise.
- Avoid long complicated sentences as legal language is rather difficult itself.
- Use impersonal style; don’t use “me”, “we”, “I” or emotional expressions.
- Connect paragraphs in logical order.
- Be confident: you are a future lawyer, and your arguments should be strong and persuasive.
Students are expected to demonstrate originality; that is why plagiarism is not accepted. They need to evaluate the arguments and organize the material by themselves. This skill is significant for future lawyers. Otherwise students won’t be able to support their evidence from particular sources in practice.
The final step is proofread and editing. Correct all spelling and grammar mistakes and make sure that your text is clear and well-structured.