Legal studies are part of many courses offered in colleges and universities. As a law student, you will encounter numerous assignments as part of the assessment process. Law essays are among the papers you will be required to submit as partial fulfillment of your law degree. But writing a good law essay takes effort, and many law students submit half-baked papers that compromise their grades.
An exceptional law essay must include in-depth legal analysis and logical arguments, not forgetting a thesis statement that guides the entire writing piece. As a writer, you must present detailed arguments and verify your conclusions. Most importantly, you should also show that you can refute competing views. Thus, law essays usually focus on resolving legal disagreements rather than applying legal rules to certain issues. This aspect can be tricky for many learners to grasp, but crafting a great essay is possible with the right approach and tips.
This article helps you understand law essay writing and gives insightful tips to guide your composition process.
Introduction to a Law Essay
Law is defined as the rules and regulations a governing authority sets to control the masses. It has the binding legal power and is endorsed and followed by citizens. If people disobey the rule of law, they are subjected to legal penalties. In a nutshell, the law represents the state’s supreme power. It aims to enforce societal regulations, protect people’s rights, and resolve conflicts. In addition, the law also prevents people from infringing on other people’s rights and behaving badly. That is why lawbreakers usually face harsh consequences, such as correction service or imprisonment.
A law essay is an academic paper that analyses different aspects of the legal system. Depending on your essay topic and requirements, you can cover legal theories, cases, and the history of legal reforms. The paper can also cover the criminal justice system and other legal principles. Generally, law essays require an in-depth evaluation of specific subjects so that you can present your arguments and counterarguments logically.
Law Essay: Key Structural Components
Before you start to write a law essay, make sure you know the correct structure. Similar to a standard essay, a law paper will follow the introduction, main body, and conclusion structure. Understanding the law essay outline is pivotal in ensuring your essay follows the right format.
Outlining your work is an essential step that allows you to focus on relevant sections of your law essay without wasting time. Besides, you won’t have to keep rewriting your paper numerous times. So, keep reading to learn how to craft a good law essay and improve your grades.
Some law experts advise learners to write the introductory section after completing the essay. But you should not leave it out during the planning phase because you might rush at the last minute and miss important points. So, create your law essay outline and plan what you will include in the introduction section.
How you introduce your paper depends on the type of essay you are writing. It could be a problem question, general question, quotation, or specific essay question.
So, below is a standard structure of how your introduction is supposed to look.
You must include background information about your essay topic when starting your introduction. For example, if you have a problem question, the background should include the main facts from the situation connected to the legal issues you will elaborate on in your essay. This way, the background allows the readers to understand the framework of your essay question and grasp what you will cover.
- Central Argument
When planning your essay, you must consider the central argument as the core of your introduction section. It is the main stand you will take about a specific field of law you will discuss in your essay. Usually, the main arguments are added to the essay question. So, if your essay includes a problem question, you can outline the legal issues you will present later in the paper.
- Essay Outline
Finally, you can finish by creating a proper legal essay outline. It should cover the major arguments you will discuss in the main body of the paper. If your essay is lengthy with several headings and sub-headings in the body section, you can note them here to guide the readers in knowing the right order of discussion.
The body is an important section of an essay since it carries the entire paper’s discussion. You have to make sure your arguments are logical and possess a proper transitional flow. Like with any other essay, you must research extensively to find credible sources to support your arguments and counterarguments, not forgetting to connect your paragraphs with transition words for continuity.
Here are a few things to consider:
- List Major Arguments
As mentioned above, you must have a central argument for your essay. But to deliver a more convincing paper, you need several supporting arguments. For instance, for a 2000-2500-word essay, you can incorporate about 3-4 arguments to support the main topic. Usually, each argument will have a detailed explanation of the relevant legal theory or case. Thus, read your law textbooks, journals, and articles extensively to find appropriate supporting arguments related to your essay topic.
Problem question essays are simple to handle in the planning phase. You must identify the legal issues you want to discuss in your essay. Besides, if you have to advise people about a specific legal situation, pinpoint their names and organize the body around each piece of advice.
- Choose Order of Discussion
After identifying the arguments above, you can proceed to organize the order of the discussion. Ensure each argument backs up the major theme. Remember that you want to persuade your readers to agree with the core argument after reading your law paper. Thus, plan the order in which the arguments will follow each other in the main body. The trick is to ensure your arguments flow logically.
- Write the Headings
Here, you need to write down suitable headings for the supporting arguments. When you write law essays, headings are acceptable in the body paragraphs as long as they are short and clear. Usually, your headings can have a maximum of 6 words to summarize the contents of the supporting arguments. Ensure these subtitles reflect what you will discuss in each paragraph.
For instance, the heading of a problem question essay should have a summary of the legal issue and can include an individual’s name who is being advised. An example could be ‘Mary’s Misrepresentation.’
- List the Contents of the Heading
Lastly, after coming up with appropriate headings, you must consider the contents and the number of paragraphs you want to include in each heading. If you are unsure of how you will determine the number, you can list the issues you want to discuss in each paragraph. This will guide you in knowing the number of paragraphs per heading. Besides, you will stick to the main points without writing unnecessary information in your paper.
Conclusion: Sum Up Your Ideas
The last section of your jurisprudence essay is the conclusion. Like with any other standard academic paper, you need to make your conclusive statement powerful with a lasting impression on the readers.
To make your conclusion memorable, do the following:
- Paraphrase the Main Argument
The most important thing in the conclusion paragraph is to restate the core argument presented at the beginning of the thesis statement. It allows the reader to judge whether your essay fulfilled its research objective. So, don’t introduce new ideas or information in the conclusion section because you might confuse your readers. Stick to the contents of the essay to communicate effectively.
Restate the central argument in the first two sentences to remind the readers what you wrote in the introduction section. Remember, the rules of academic writing cut across many disciplines, including law. Thus, ensure you adhere to the required writing standards. Law essays prepare you to excel in more complicated writing projects in your future career.
- Paraphrase Supporting Arguments
Finally, you can restate two or three main supporting arguments from the main body. Outline the arguments in brief to summarize your essay. Since you already discussed the issues in detail, your goal is to paraphrase them clearly and concisely to refresh the readers’ minds.
Good Law Essay Writing Hacks
Essays are common assignments in law school to prepare learners to gain critical and analytical skills. As a law student, you must plan your work and use valuable resources to help craft effective law essays. There are two common types of law essays:
This type of essay prompts learners to discuss legislation pieces or recent cases related to legal principles or laws in the country. You may also need to take a stand in a specific argument or discuss the implications of a particular ruling.
This essay needs you to discuss a legal issue or advise the concerned party after analyzing a particular legal situation. You must identify the problems and apply the appropriate law in such a case.
We compiled a few pointers to help you navigate the law essay writing process smoothly. You will understand how to start, structure, and present your arguments in your law essay.
Understand the Prompt
Before you start crafting your essay, you must first understand the essay question. One effective approach is to read the question carefully, analyze it, and break it down. You should find the essay’s content, direction, and scope by pinpointing key or limiting words in the question.
An example of direction words in an essay include: critically analyze, discuss, compare, contrast, etc. The content words usually reveal the area to focus on in your essay. In contrast, a limiting word is often the extent to which you need to discuss your arguments.
Therefore, it is imperative to interpret the question to understand your essay and the tutor’s expectations.
Structure a Consistent Argument
As mentioned above, the planning phase is critical for your essay’s success. You must conduct comprehensive research to locate credible sources. However, reading is not enough; ensure you incorporate note-taking to capture relevant ideas and arguments to discuss in your paper.
Crafting a law essay requires effort due to the term complexities and jargon you need to grasp. Thus, planning and taking notes will help you comprehend different legal issues while staying within the research question.
Therefore, summarize each source you want to use in your paper by noting the main points outlined by the author. You can later paraphrase and write the point using your own words. Don’t forget to note the title, author’s name, and page number for correct citation.
Plan the Answer Concisely
Using the right essay structure is crucial in essay writing. A proper essay structure allows you to communicate effectively with your readers. Thus, structuring your work is essential not only in law school but also in law practice.
The required structure should have an introduction, main body, and conclusion. Keep in mind that each paragraph should contain one idea or argument. Thus, your law paper might have short paragraphs because of concision. Law is a precise subject, so adding irrelevant information is unnecessary in an essay. It is advisable to have short, clear paragraphs that address a relevant issue rather than lengthy and wordy paragraphs covering numerous issues.
Don’t forget to include headings and sub-headings to offer the right structure for your composition. You will be able to stick to the arguments without deviating from the main points.
Finally, your law essays must adhere to the required academic standards. Thus, you should thoroughly edit and proofread your work to eliminate all errors. Ensure your essay has good grammar, no spelling or punctuation mistakes, and correct citations. In addition, your arguments must flow in a logical and transitional manner for effective communication.