22 January 2014

A List of Law Essay Ingredients

This posts collects several of my articles on writing law essays. Each of these offers some observations on writing about law in university. In my writing schedule, though, weeks pass between similar ideas. This post therefore aims to present my ideas about legal writing ingredients in an order that may improve their coherence.

1. Background

Several comments left on this website (now deleted) have linked to unethical websites where students can buy law essays. And it is unethical to buy assessments--whatever those sites' claims to righteousness. It seriously vexes me when such websites use my blog to advertise their iniquitous services--because I do want to help law students, and those companies just want to make a profit.

The posts of mine that are not listed below still discuss learning law, but not so obviously as this selection. To sum up the message through my website, learning law is difficult. With hard work, however, anyone accepted to study law at university is capable of achieving a first.

That hard graft must be efficient because there is so much to get through. But the process starts simply: one must read law and about law, and try to glue that information into the mind by writing about law yourself. And that's it. The rest will develop from this reading and writing. Do not sit and write lists of case names and dates, and key facts and principles. The same goes for copying out lecture notes and even, most of the time, taking lecture notes: it is more productive to listen, and jot down a few details than to try to transcribe the whole lecture. Although these tasks might have some tiny role, I advise instead just to read and listen more. The posts compiled below are intended to help struggling and successful students write better.

The internet hosts other (free) resources that discuss the same or similar topics as I do. I hope my perspective is helpful regardless. See the 'Links' tab, above, for some examples.

There are many relevant ideas that I have not yet discussed, such as plagiarism, paragraph structure, sentence and statement construction, referencing, and exam and revision technique. I will write about these in the future, consolidate the new posts with older articles by editing my earlier text with linking phrases, and provide an updated version of this list.

Until then, I hope the following arrangement is helpful.

2. The Arranged List

2.1 Overarching Concerns

2.2 Useful Words and Peculiar Legal Details

2.3 Demonstrative Legal Examples

2.4 Miscellaneous

3. A Final Caveat

Rather than a repetitive summary, I offer a final caveat. You may not always think so, but your lecturers and tutors do know what they're talking about (even if some are not the best at communicating that knowledge in a teaching and learning environment). If a task seems pointless, perhaps look at it from another angle. If a task seems too easy, research deeper: the setting of the task might not be to inculcate a vapid understanding, but to encourage you, as a student, to decide the direction in which to dig deeper.

Created: 18 January 2014. Version 1.1: 25 January 2014.

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