Law School Essay
A law school essay is a brief text composed for a course or exam in law school. Typically, law school essays appear on law exams. Some law classes may also require an essay as an out-of-class assignment. In either case, law school essays are strikingly different from essays students composed in college. Legal writing is very direct and specific, and frequently employs the use of legal jargon. Therefore, the scholarly tone and elaborate sentence structure of many scholarly texts should be avoided in favor of straightforward and concise prose.
The way to approach a law school essay for an exam depends on whether the exam is a timed, proctored exam or a take-home exam. If the exam is timed, the student must think and write quickly in order to complete the test. In this and all timed writing assignments, learners will benefit from devoting more time to thinking and planning rather than to writing. Most professors do not expect a technically flawless essay from an exam; the primary objective of essay exams is to determine if students can, in limited time, think critically and develop sound arguments. Therefore, learners should spend the majority of their allotted time carefully considering the report question or prompt, developing ideas and possible responses, and writing an outline. Once the thoughts have been developed, the writing of the article should be fairly straightforward.
If a law school essay is being composed for a take-home exam or another out-of-class assignment, the expectations of the report will be different. The professor will expect the report to be longer and more in-depth, and may also require the report to include citations noting case law that is relevant to the article's topic. When citing the law in law school essays, the writer must document the source of that law. The Harvard Law Review Association publishes a citation manual known as the Blue Book, which describes how these citations should be formatted. Furthermore, the writing for a take-home exam or other out-of-class essay assignment should be polished. This means the student should proof the document carefully for grammar, spelling, and style errors, and should attempt to make the report as readable and eloquent as possible.
All law school reports should display an advanced critical and rhetorical acumen by making knowledgeable and creative arguments and casting them in direct and assertive language. Developing this level of analysis and presentation will take time; it is therefore advisable for students to practice writing law school essays before composing them for a grade.
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