how to write good law essays

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Leifde
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#1
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#1
well basically i am asking for a bit of help. my essays this year has been pretty bad (mostly low 2.1 high 2.2)
so, is there a certain structure to follow when answering a problem question or an essay?? what structure do you use when answering such questions?

any help would be appreciated. thanks.
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cbtaylor87
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#2
Report 16 years ago
#2
I am in the same boat as you! So I was doing some research this morning and found this good bit of advice for problem quesstions:

I.R.A.C = Issues, Rules, Application, Conclusion

Discuss the issues raised by the problem, state the rules and authority for them, apply them to the situation at hand, and conclde your advice or opinion.

This sort of thing is ok for problem questions only though.
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Lady Narcissus
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#3
Report 16 years ago
#3
look at, if you can, learning law exams by Peter some thing. Sorry cannot be more help but I went from getting 55% on my first problem answer to getting inconsistant 70%s after a read or how u do it
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Leifde
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#4
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#4
thanks so much LauraWalker. will go n hunt down that book now
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Lauren18
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#5
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#5
Or, alternatively - How to Write Law Essays and Exams, Strong. I've only read the first third so far but it's easy to read and seems to give good advice.

It uses the CLEO method which is based on a litigation model:

Claim
Law
Evaluation
Outcome

Might be worth a flick through in a bookshop to see if it suits you?
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Dreama
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Lauren18)
Claim
Law
Evaluation
Outcome
Pah! Lauren dearest! Express your individuality! Break free from the chains of the structure...

If they give me lined paper in the examination, I might well write the other way...
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tomcoolinguk
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Lauren18)
Or, alternatively - How to Write Law Essays and Exams, Strong. I've only read the first third so far but it's easy to read and seems to give good advice.

It uses the CLEO method which is based on a litigation model:

Claim
Law
Evaluation
Outcome

Might be worth a flick through in a bookshop to see if it suits you?
I'd recommend buying the London External Examinations papers with worked solutions books (Old Bailey Press) to see proper length problems. I found the Strong method to rigid and too often the comments made on the sample answers are not very helpful. The focus on grammar is ridiculous!
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Inquisitive
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#8
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#8
(Original post by tomcoolinguk)
I found the Strong method to rigid
Precisely. Using 'CLEO' can lead to significant overwriting because of that four-step structure.

I would advise writing in your own, natural style and just answer the question with what your lecturers/tutors look for in your course. I didn't need artificial structures to get high 2:1's and firsts.

It's important to clarify with your tutors as to what they require for each topic.
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cbtaylor87
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#9
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#9
(Original post by LauraWalker)
look at, if you can, learning law exams by Peter some thing. Sorry cannot be more help but I went from getting 55% on my first problem answer to getting inconsistant 70%s after a read or how u do it
hey

I have tried looking for this book but cant seem to find it and was wondering if you had a more specific title?? I looked on google and nothing came up, tried amazon, nothing.

thanks
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Lauren18
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Dreama)
Pah! Lauren dearest! Express your individuality! Break free from the chains of the structure...

If they give me lined paper in the examination, I might well write the other way...
Lol Jo you should know that I don't follow any structures... but I have found this book helpful; at least for reassurance even if I don't actually implement its advice.

Please do write the other way Jo, that would be funny. I am also determined to quote you as a 'modern legal commentator', most probably in the EU exam where you will be stated to have said such fine things as 'EU law is 'b---ocks' and 'that case that's like Handelegselchafteria bla bla bla'. I see the firsts already...
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Lauren18
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#11
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#11
(Original post by Inquisitive)
Precisely. Using 'CLEO' can lead to significant overwriting because of that four-step structure.

I would advise writing in your own, natural style and just answer the question with what your lecturers/tutors look for in your course. I didn't need artificial structures to get high 2:1's and firsts.

It's important to clarify with your tutors as to what they require for each topic.
Well it's not an 'artificial structure' at all - it's based on litigation models and is pretty logical really. Most good students will virtually follow it unconsciously anyway. I don't suggest allowing it to change your writing style - I swear my own natural style is what gets me half the marks - but it's useful for clarifying any hesitations you have about how best to write essays and problems.
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Dreama
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#12
Report 16 years ago
#12
(Original post by Lauren18)
Lol Jo you should know that I don't follow any structures... but I have found this book helpful; at least for reassurance even if I don't actually implement its advice.

Please do write the other way Jo, that would be funny. I am also determined to quote you as a 'modern legal commentator', most probably in the EU exam where you will be stated to have said such fine things as 'EU law is 'b---ocks' and 'that case that's like Handelegselchafteria bla bla bla'. I see the firsts already...
I'm a "contemporary legal commentator" and you should... Mike is going to quote me over at UCL. If he hasn't already.

I think that my down-to-earth approach in Euro Law is much appreciated... Handelegselchafteria bla bla bla is a very technical way of putting it.

Hope London is treating you well, Walkies and Gardening are in order asap me thinks Miss ya x

Jo xxxx
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Inquisitive
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#13
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#13
(Original post by Lauren18)
Well it's not an 'artificial structure' at all - it's based on litigation models and is pretty logical really. Most good students will virtually follow it unconsciously anyway. I don't suggest allowing it to change your writing style - I swear my own natural style is what gets me half the marks - but it's useful for clarifying any hesitations you have about how best to write essays and problems.
I see what you mean; it's probably to do with the way I look at writing: more artistic, aesthetic and less rigid, preordained and 'artificial'. Then again, I might be following it subconsciously... not sure.

Sure, it's a good comforter and a place to seek assurance whenever in doubt.
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Lauren18
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#14
Report 16 years ago
#14
(Original post by Dreama)
I'm a "contemporary legal commentator" and you should... Mike is going to quote me over at UCL. If he hasn't already.

I think that my down-to-earth approach in Euro Law is much appreciated... Handelegselchafteria bla bla bla is a very technical way of putting it.

Hope London is treating you well, Walkies and Gardening are in order asap me thinks Miss ya x

Jo xxxx
Lol yeah Anne blatantly loves your down-to-earth approach hehe. ~ National holiday!

London is treating me ok thanks hun, how's Brighton? A bit of walking and gardening is indeed in order. Are you staying in GDS after exams until June 24th? Hope so cos central London with *no* committments shall be A M A Z I N G!!! Miss you too x
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Dreama
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#15
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#15
(Original post by Lauren18)
Lol yeah Anne blatantly loves your down-to-earth approach hehe. ~ National holiday!

London is treating me ok thanks hun, how's Brighton? A bit of walking and gardening is indeed in order. Are you staying in GDS after exams until June 24th? Hope so cos central London with *no* committments shall be A M A Z I N G!!! Miss you too x
Ha Ha! National Holiday was immense, I wonder what KCL will make of those forms!

Yea I'll be about

J xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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tomcoolinguk
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#16
Report 16 years ago
#16
(Original post by Lauren18)
Well it's not an 'artificial structure' at all - it's based on litigation models and is pretty logical really. Most good students will virtually follow it unconsciously anyway. I don't suggest allowing it to change your writing style - I swear my own natural style is what gets me half the marks - but it's useful for clarifying any hesitations you have about how best to write essays and problems.
Most good students will probably integrate their evaluation and law more than the CLEO method would suggest, and thorough by evaluation by definition tends to derive the outcome. It can just seem quite protracted sometimes. It is definitely not a good method to write essay with- each university tends to have preferred styles. UCL Law, for example, seem to love 'In this essay I will...' style introductions. This was not encouraged at my school, and is also not encouraged in many degree courses.

I suppose, basically, CLEO is like all 'writing' models; it is a foundation from which to gain an idea of general convention. But strict adherance will mean that you rarely push outside of general mark ranges (I showed my contract tutor the high 2.1/first contract problem in the book and she said it was at best 64). This makes sense; I mean Margaret Atwood breaks almost every rule we were ever taught about English Language!
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Scots_Law
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#17
Report 16 years ago
#17
Hey,

LauraWalker, was the book you're referring to Learning Exam Skills by
Harry McVea and Peter Cumper. I couldn't find the one you mentioned but it sounds really useful
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Jimmy199415
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#18
Report 6 years ago
#18
Hello.

I am doing Law this year, and I wanted to ask a question regarding legal essays.I know that I have to give out Cases and Statutes in identifying the Law, but do I also have to set out the facts of the Case? Or do I just have to set out the judgement made by the judge, in identifying the current Law position.

For instance, if I was to distinguish between employed and self-employed, would I also have to use the facts (story) from Ready Mixed Concrete v Minister etc, or merely the judgement made by the judge about the "contract of service", without stating the facts?

Thank you in advance.
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