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How To Construct A Great Law Essay

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A well-written essay at law school is crucial in order to achieve top marks. It’s crucial to keep in mind that there’s rarely every one single correct way to approach the task. There’s no guideline that could be followed step-by-step in order to get a top-quality end result.

There is, however, an outline for success in legal essays that could be observed.

From the time we are our essay’s title, all the way to the moment we submit it in, there are a few fundamental principles we must be aware of. They provide the basis for excellent essay writing. This article is all about. If you read it to the end, I’ll provide you with a complimentary guide to help you out further.


Before we can even begin the writing process, there are a few basic steps to take. The most crucial is researching.

First of all, we have to be able to clearly mark two areas to write our essay as well as take notes of our research. So simply open up two documents on your computer (e.g. in Word), with one titled “essay” and another titled notes. Then divide BOTH of these Pages into the following sections: Introduction, main body and conclusion; as well as references.

At this stage – the research phase the focus is on our ‘notes’ document.

What’s the question they are you are asking?

In order to conduct research efficiently, we have to be aware of exactly what the question is asking from us.

Many students get caught in the trap of trying to answer the question they’re trying to solve (because they know that area better), rather than the actual question given to them. Spend some time trying to get your head around the question and determine if it requires you to discuss the issue’, evaluate it’s implications’ critically analyse, etc.

What are the best resources to read?

Once you’ve got the concept then it’s time to begin reading appropriate and relevant academic resources as well as other materials for scholarly research.

My advice would be to begin reading the relevant sections of 1-2 textbooks to ensure that you understand the full scope of the topic. After that, you’ll be able to form an objective response in response to this question. That is, your basic knowledge from textbooks should enable you to draw a rough picture of the issue that will drive the study and preparations.

When you’ve got a good idea of your answer this makes it much easier to find relevant cases, journal articles as well as treaties, statutes and others. Furthermore, it makes the process of searching Westlaw, LexisNexis, or any other legal research databases quicker and more useful.

If you come across a bit of information that you believe could be beneficial, make sure to put it into the proper area of our ‘notes’ document. Remember to reference it immediately. Honestly, references can be extremely painful if you don’t spend the time to reference your sources immediately. (The length of time I’ve wasted looking for a source because I didn’t write it down immediately is ridiculous).

Once we have all the necessary information so we can start thinking about the structure and writing the actual portion of the essay within our ‘essay’ document.


The introduction to your essay must be short and concise.

The goal of your introduction is to ensure that you have understood what the question is asking , and to give the essay a proper focus, and presented clearly the way you’ll answer the question.

Put simply, you need to explain to the reader the subject matter you’ll be discussing and how they’re going to be led from start to finish, bringing them to a conclusion.

Many students will use the introduction wrongly, interpreting it as an opportunity for intrigue instead of providing information. Many believe that an essay is similar to a story, and the ending isn’t known until the end. An essay isn’t an actual story. Effective law essays will give hints at the final conclusion from the beginning.

Main Body

The main body of the document requires you to show three important points:

Personal expression
Appropriate style & tone


Even though you have to prove that you are knowledgeable about the law and the legal concepts relevant to the essay subject (i.e. write about) the most essential aspect of first-class essay writing is the analysis and evaluation.

You have to prove that you recognize the limitation of a particular perspective or law take a look at where the judgment is illogical or incomplete, and developing your own perspective through the entire essay.

Many students do not finish their analysis until the conclusion that is late. The analysis should be intertwined throughout the essay itself. Learn what your personal opinion is and challenge legal assumptions and be careful not to repeat the views of academics.

I’ve discovered that it doesn’t matter how uninformed your own opinion is, just as long as you’ve an opinion. There’s no correct way to approach legal gray areas, so it’s best to have an opinion and present sufficient amounts of supporting evidence (from journals, cases, etc. ).

It is crucial to ensure that all of your points are properly developed. If students aren’t in their element, they’ll show this by shifting to a new subject quickly without really understanding the point they’re trying to achieve. Therefore, be comfortable with the legal uncertainty concerning your essay, and be confident enough to have an opinion that you can back up.

Speak Up

First class essays are individual. As readers, you can not only can see that the student has a thorough understanding of the law, but they have also made the effort to express themselves.

The most important thing is to present fundamental concepts or concepts in your own words. This shows that you actually understand what these key concepts or concepts are and not using someone else’s definition.

Many students believe that their opinion or interpretation is less important compared to academics or professors. However, your opinions are equally valid. If you are able to see something legal or the legal concept from a different perspective, don’t be afraid to express your opinion. You’ll be rewarded for it.

Additionally, quotations aren’t recommended and – when they are used – with good justification. The issue is that if you’re quoting academics from other fields excessively, you’ll water down your own opinions and thoughts. In addition, it turns your essay into a patchwork and an amalgamation of ideas from others, and fails to effectively demonstrate your capacity to analyze the law.

There are just three scenarios where you must include quotes directly in your essay:

It reinforces something you’ve already said in your own words
It’s difficult to describe an issue in your own words due to certain technicalities or complexities
It is not as effective to do so (perhaps since the original quote is popular)

Tone and Style

When writing an essay that is legal, you have a choice between making your writing first-person (e.g. “I’m saying that . . .’) or the third person (e.g. “it is suggested that . . . ‘). It’s up to you.

As with the previous two things I’ve made It’s vital that the tone you choose gets your own point across. For instance, the problem with the third person approach is the phrase “it is debated that” could refer to “I am arguing it” as well as “others argue that”. If you choose to decide to go with”third person” (or your school prefers it that way) be aware of the potential difficulties in helping present your argument.

Additionally, ensure that your essay is concise, clear and accurate. You should understand the law as completely as you possibly can prior to placing pen to paper. If you’re unsure which law applies to you or what something means you’re going not be able to studying it thoroughly. It’s as simple as it gets.


The goal of the conclusion is to effectively summarize and synthesize everything that you’ve already discussed. The common error here is to try to add some additional information, which could be a fresh information, idea or perspective. However, this can make the conclusion less effective and decrease the impact of the conclusion.

Your goal with the conclusion is to make your argument concise in a short paragraph and demonstrate how that answers the original essay question.


Every claim you make must be supported by an appropriate source.

Often, you will need for the reader to be directed to the primary law (e.g. an instance or statute) However, other times the academic opinions in journal articles or books is sufficient.

Your school will probably have their own rules for reference forms – for example, OSCOLA – so do check this out to ensure you do yours correctly (and you will lose marks if you do it wrong). But, for an exam full references aren’t necessary. Just provide as much context as you can to provide some attempt to reference any source (e.g. Evans mentioned X regarding this topic, or Denning mentioned Y regarding this subject in the case of Tom and Jerry [2001The Tom vs. Jerry case).

Final Words

There’s no one that fits all’ method for creating a top law essay however, following the structure and advice in this article will get you much of the way to where you want to be.