How I Write Essays in Law School (Law Student)


everyone it’s elena and i’m back with another video and today i’m going to share with you guys how i write my essays as a law student at cambridge i’ve partnered with lexisnexis for this video to share with you guys how you can speed up your legal research process but more on that later.

that one of essay writing is getting a question and then i usually just write it down into an empty document in good notes so this is my note-taking app on the ipad.

and then it is pretty much just time to gather everything i’m gonna need for writing the essay.

so obviously i am gonna need my ipad simply you know for brainstorming and writing down anything else then i’m also gonna need my reading notes so at cambridge we have supervisions which are a bit like seminars at other universities.

and we have to take reading notes for each of these because we have to prepare them and these are usually like your best friends for essay writing because they contain most of the information that your professors will expect you to incorporate.

so you’re definitely gonna have to keep these nearby because you will have to look up things.

and you know just make sure you’re on the right track and then i also have my statute book with me.

now this is not necessarily a must it really depends sometimes you will write down the relevant statutes but i just like having my statute book there this is where all of the written laws are and i usually have little post-its there.

so they just help me find the relevant legislation a lot easier.

and they can help you you know find the right legislation like here i knew i was going to need that 1999 act about contracts and third parties.

so i already had it open and yeah that’s pretty much everything that i needed for writing this essay.

the essay was about contract law so once i had everything gathered it was time for step one which is breaking apart the question.

and that is something that is so so important and that i used to not do because i somehow thought it wasn’t relevant but it is so what i usually do is i will just circle keywords and then take my reading notes and break down the key concepts and the question and that can help you really focus your answer and also realize where there are some nuances that you may have missed when you just read the question for the first time.

now here i’m not writing down any arguments or anything like that i’m really just gathering information on the different terms.

so as you can see this is how i broke down a question about contract law so i circled two key words which were here.

intention and then also consideration now these are the two key concepts that this question asks about because you need them for the formation of a contract.

and as you can see i also circled create in red together with both.

and i circled these two in red because english contract law requires both of these concepts for creating a contact now create is a really big topic here so that’s how i know where this falls in terms of the syllabus.

it’s about the creation of contracts it’s not about remedies or anything like that.

it’s that part so then i also know you know where to go in my reading notes where to find what.

and also you know break down that concept of what does it mean to create a contract what do you need for it why is there something that maybe you don’t need anymore because that’s what this question was about.

and then it was time to brainstorm some arguments.

now here i will usually just write down whatever comes to mind.

sometimes i will later on decide that some of these arguments were stupid and i will just not use them but here i just pretty much write down whatever i think could work as an argument in this essay.

and whatever i think might be a relevant thought i also always try to come up with counterpoints so.

that i can show my professor that i understand that.

these arguments aren’t beyond attack but i also try to explain why i would dismiss a counterpoint because at the end of the day you want to convince your professor by the end of your essay.

that your opinion is right on this so i’ll just write down anything that comes to mind and you know try to figure out where on this question.

my opinion falls and then it is time to take a look at everything that i have accumulated on this document and actually decide what is relevant so again go back to your breakdown of the question.

make sure you really keep in mind what this question is about what the nuances are.

and then look at your arguments and decide which ones are good and then what i usually do is i will put them into a little.

overview of my essay so here i have the document on my laptop.

i usually just have to question on top and then i have a table there the introduction the arguments and the conclusion i just have them in different colors because i find that helpful and as you can see there are two columns and that’s because i.

have a little column for my authorities because in law you always need to name an authority.

usually whenever you say that something is a law because well.

you got to prove it and then it’s time to decide which arguments are i guess worthy enough to make it into this little overview.

and once i’ve decided on that i will put them in there and as you can tell this table gets pretty big and the reason for that.

is that i really want to know what i’m going to write.

so i put a lot of work into this overview and here’s the finished overview so this is what the table then looks like.

as you can see now we have some points that i want to hit in the introduction so those are just some.

informative points and i have a fully written out faces.

i always write the pieces out completely simply because i find that really helpful as it gives you a lot more structure.

and because as you can tell my arguments are pretty much just you know a few words.

so writing out the entire thesis just helps me know what i actually meant with these few key words.

because sometimes it can be hard to realize what i wanted but as you can tell the authorities column is completely empty.

because we still have to fill that one and the conclusion is also written out in full for the same reason.

as for which i also write out the entire thesis.

and yeah that’s what the table looks like now it’s not bad but obviously we need to fill those authority columns so then it’s time to go back to the reading notes take a look at you know what different cases do you have that you can name.

but very often your reading notes on their own will probably not be enough now the reason for that is that you usually keep it short but you want to make sure you use the correct language so when you wrote down you know the thesis off a paper or something you want to make sure that you go back and check whether you actually use the vocabulary that the academic employed or if there’s a case where you’re not entirely sure what the exact wording was but it’s important.

just double check to make sure that your professor sees you put in the work so that’s the time where i usually go to legal databases to check and also find some extra readings and cases to show off.

and here i am on lexus library which brings us to the amazing sponsor of today’s video which is lexisnexis lexisnexis operates the lexus library which is one of the biggest databases where you can find lots of case law academic journals and legislation he was actually looking for a case which i needed for writing my essay and i just wanted to make sure that i was going to use the correct wording so.

that everything would be clear in my essay now.

using legal databases is a big part of being a law student because you’re always researching authorities but maybe you don’t know exactly how to use these legal databases.

but the great thing about the lexus library is that you can get trained in using it for free.

lexisnexis offers you certifications both for the lexus library and lexis psl but for the lexus library there are two different certificates.

one is the foundation one and then there’s also an advanced one the cool thing is they’re both free it only takes 60 minutes to sit either test and you have to get 13 out of 15 questions correct.

but don’t worry you don’t have to take the test in one sitting you can actually pause and then return to it later and you can also take the test again in case it doesn’t work out the first time so.

no pressure any law student has access to lexis library in the uk which really shows how important this legal database is.

so make sure that you get your certification so that you can save yourself a ton of time when researching the law.

and this can also help you with applications you can of course put these certifications onto your cv to show employers that you know how to use this bigger database.

and 96 out of the top 100 uk law firms actually use lexis library.

so these certifications are definitely worth doing and yeah here’s me staring at an article in the lexis library and although i do not look.

excited at all i was actually really excited because i just found some reading of the syllabus that i could use for my essay and that.

i thought would fit in really well with the arguments and it ended up working out well.

so back to that contract law essay so here i am now finally filling in some authorities now when i say authorities i don’t just mean legal cases and statues i also mean academic writing whatever it is that backs up my argument so i really mean more of you know.

a sort of proof in quotation marks for my argument and here is what my table looks like once it is completed as you can tell it got a little bit bigger but now it’s actually complete so i now have authorities for all my different arguments and i also have keywords for the arguments themselves as you can tell this is a pretty big outline so.

writing the essay in itself is actually not really a big deal because well most of it is pretty much written out and you just really need to put it into complete sentences.

so that’s what i then usually do and that’s pretty much it.

since my outline is so comprehensive the writing part is honestly not very interesting.

the only thing that i sometimes forget but really really shouldn’t and i would highly recommend you do not.


is read over that essay one last time make sure the grammar is good and if your professors like it then also underline your different authorities so whether it’s statute or case law just so that it’s easier for them to see that you cited them and that’s it from my side that’s how i write my essays if you guys are interested in a contract essay that i wrote in this video i linked the entire essay for you guys in the info box below because i also posted it on my law blog.

thank you so much for watching this video i hope you enjoyed it and make sure to get your certifications from.


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