Depending on your university and the type of essay you are writing, there will be different requirements as to what constitutes a first-class law essay. However, following these steps will put you in the correct direction towards top marks.
1. Start in Advance
Obvious but important. You should aim to start your law essay as soon as you have the question. Leaving it until the last minute does not only create unnecessary stress, but it also leaves you insufficient time to write, reference and perfect your work.
2. Read, Understand and Deconstruct the Question
Do not begin until you fully comprehend the question. Take time to break the question down into sections and visit your tutor for advice. This will help massively.
This is arguably the most crucial part of the law essay writing process. The information must be taken from relevant, reliable and up to date sources. If not, this will weaken your chances of producing a first-class law essay. The more authoritative a source the more marks you will gain. Use primary material over secondary where possible.
Outdated law? No thank you. Blog post from a stranger online? Again, no thank you! Look at information given from those such as experts in the field, judges, lawyers and politicians.
4. Write a Plan
After conducting research, you will have an idea of what kind of content you want to put into your text. Take a piece of paper and write what you wish to achieve in each paragraph. This makes it easier when it comes to writing the essay as starting without a plan can get messy. The essay must answer the question and nothing but the question so ensure all of your points relate to it.
5. Write a Good Essay Introduction
An impressive introduction should, firstly, outline the research topic. Do this without simply repeating the given question. Secondly, create a road map for the reader, letting them know how the essay will approach the question. Thirdly, include a thesis statement which we will review in the next point. Your introduction must be concise. The main body of the essay is where you will go into detail.
6. Include a Thesis
This is your opinion on the matter at hand and will usually go into your introduction. Take a clear stance, do not be wishy-washy. Avoid taking an obvious view, being different is good. Before writing, ask yourself if you can prove your argument with the given word count or if you need to adopt a more modest position for the paper.
7. Include Counter-Arguments in Their Best Light
This will prove your broad understanding of the topic. Rebut these arguments and explain why your argument is better. If you do not recognise why your view is stronger, you are ultimately describing two views and then randomly choosing one over the other. Remember, your aim is to persuade the reader to adopt your stance. The reader will not be convinced if you cannot show that your argument withstands opposing arguments.
8. Write a Good Conclusion
Briefly mention all of the main points that you have made throughout. Reaffirm your answer to the law essay question in your conclusion to make sure this is done clearly.
9. Print, Read and Submit on Time
Holding the law essay in front of you as opposed to reading it through a screen can be more effective. Ask someone to read your paper and give you critical feedback. This is useful as you may not have noticed grammatical errors. He or she need not be a lawyer as a well-written paper should make sense to anyone.
10. Not Only is the Content Important, Presentation is Too.
This includes using an appropriate font and font size, referencing correctly and following your university essay requirements such as stating your word count and your student identification number. Do not lose marks for minor reasons.
11. Use Non-Lawyer Language
While being sophisticated is great, legal jargon can come across as fake. Stick to the point. Do not use five words when two will do.
12. Create a Vocabulary Bank!
Advice from my tutor that has significantly helped me when writing law essays is: take note of phrases from books and articles or comments made by others such as your professors. When it comes to writing your law essay, you will have a whole range of vocabulary you can use!
13. Finally, Take Care of Yourself
Last but certainly not least, looking after your health can improve your attitude towards writing your law essay and the essay writing itself. Sleep, eat, drink and exercise appropriately. Take regular breaks and try not to stress. Do not forget to enjoy writing the essay!
Whether you're applying for training contracts, vacation schemes or legal work experience, you'll be judged on your ability to analyse the wider business world. Find out more about commercial awareness in our guide.