If you are pursuing a career in the legal arena, law school is certainly your most important academic milestone. You might have been dreaming of this for years and now you are finally here, facing the pressure head-on. Most law students are aware that law school comes with stress and pressure, but many still end up surprised at how much they are expected to do. Couple this with brutal feedback from your law professors, it’s not unsurprising if your grades and morale suffer.
One of the most detested assignments in law school is the law essay. Law freshmen, especially those without a background in law, often think that a law essay is a whole new species from the standard academic essay. But it is not. Because they focus on things that don’t matter, they end up writing a law essay that lacks in analysis. Let us clear this up.
What is a law essay?
A law essay is not so different from the other types of essays you have written in your undergraduate classes. Its goal is simply to communicate an idea to a specific audience. Only this time, you are communicating about the law. You are analyzing a particular law, uncovering any loopholes, complexity, and nuances within it, and use it to present and defend an argument. To do this successfully, you need the typical expectations in writing an essay—structure, logic, and clarity.
It takes a lot of time and effort to be able to write a good law essay. You need to pay attention to every detail and make sure that you will use the most suitable law for your chosen case. You must understand the nuances of the laws as well. You need to read the case carefully because if you miss a single detail, your whole paper could end up being a disaster. The rigors of law school essay writing should not be a hindrance to your dream of becoming a lawyer.
Naturally, as the law branches out and covers the different aspects of society, there are also different types of law essay projects:
- Law term paper
- Legal briefs
- Business law essay
- Criminal law term paper
- Employment law essay
- Intellectual property law essay
- Medical law essay
- Law dissertation proposal
- Law dissertation help
What should a law essay look like?
Law essays value straightforwardness and brevity. Its emphasis is in content and not necessarily in delivery. As such, all law essays are expected to follow either the IRAC or the CRRACC law essay structure.
The IRAC law essay structure
IRAC stands for Issue, Rule, Application, and Conclusion. This structure is the easiest way to organize a law essay.
- Issue – First, you must present and explain the issue or question based on the facts of the case. If there are multiple issues, you must segregate these and explain each one.
- Rules – List down and expound on the rules or the laws that are applicable to the issues you have presented. If applicable, this would be where you discuss any relevant precedents. Make sure that you thoroughly but concisely explain each law.
- Application – Here, you apply the rules or the laws to the facts and the issue. After applying the rules, you must draw a legal analogy or reasoning that will support your argument. Any nuances should be drawn out here.
- Conclusion – In your conclusion, you state the solution to the issue or the position you have taken. This should clearly state the result of your analysis.
The CRRACC law essay structure
CRRACC stands for Conclusion, Rule, Rule Proof, Application, Counterargument, and Conclusion. This structure is not entirely different from IRAC. However, it is a more elaborate form of IRAC and is therefore usually used in longer legal writing.
- Conclusion – The conclusion appears at the beginning of the law essay. It should clearly but concisely state the legal position regarding the issue.
- Rule – You need to identify the laws that apply or will resolve the issue. In this section, it is best to start from the general principles first, followed by smaller, secondary components, and exceptions to the rule.
- Rule Proof – This section delves more deeply into the ideas presented in Rule. Here, you should address the facts, holding, and reasoning of the cases and relate this to the issue.
- Application – This is where the rules are related to the facts of the case. Your analysis should make explicit how the underlying policy objectives of a law will be met if the court accepts the application of a law to a fact or to the issue.
- Counterargument – In this section, you will address and rebut the arguments raised by opponents.
- Conclusion – This section restates the major points raised in all sections of the law essay. Unlike the first conclusion, this section should close your law essay, and thus should have conviction.
Common mistakes law students make when writing a law essay
1. Failure to answer the question posed. They are either too stressed or they misinterpreted it. They fail to recognize what is being asked because they are overwhelmed by the inclusion of a law in the question.
2. Overthinking. Law students sometimes treat their law essays as they would a mystery novel. As a result, law professors are often confused when they check the essays. Law professors assert that in writing a law essay, the only question law students have to answer is "What is your argument?"
3. Weak arguments. There are a lot of students who can offer a nuanced argument but end up failing to connect it back to the law. A sound argument in a law essay should always be linked to the law being discussed.
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