The Federation Press

Students’ Guide to Legal Writing, Law Exams and Self Assessment

Overview

This popular and modestly priced work by experienced law teachers continues to offer law students succinct but essential practical advice on to how to prepare well researched and written work required for assessment in law courses and the strategies for effective preparation and sitting of law exams.

The third edition been updated first, to reflect the increasing reliance of law students upon electronic modes of communication, for learning, for research, for interaction with the University and their friends, for organising and planning and for recreation. It contains a fully revised section dealing with the use of electronic resources, including guidance on using search tools such as Google, and a discussion of the need for a critical and careful approach to reliance upon internet sources. It outlines processes for electronic submission of assignments and discusses the benefits and pitfalls of using resources such as recorded lectures online. Further advice regarding the dangers of plagiarism and the possible consequences for the future of law graduates seeking admission to practice has also been incorporated.

Second, the material on examination formats has been updated to reflect the changing modes of assessment in law schools.

Third, is the inclusion of a new section on Self Assessment. This will help new law students test whether they have adopted successful study practices and have attitudes conducive to success in law. It will also help them evaluate for themselves what type of student they are and what more they need to do to get the most out of their law studies and the larger opportunities for personal development in a university setting.

Reviews

Reviews of previous editions:The book is well laid out with the key points ‘boxed’. In the 79 pages of text, readers will find answers to those perennial problems encountered by students in preparing preliminary plans for legal writing, gathering research material and preparing and revising drafts. ... Where teaching materials are accessible and student exercises are submitted and corrected over the Internet, a legal writing text is required for this 21st century method of instruction. This excellent publication meets the challenges of this new technology. ... This forward-looking primer is an invaluable aid to all law students who want a practical text ... - Law Institute Journal (Victoria), December 2003

What a terrific little book! Full of information all of it well presented. ... The second edition is an enlarged revision of the original with a new section on law exams and other items such as a checklist of basic research skills. Part 4 on law exams is short - only 12 pages - but essential reading for any student. If you have one in your house give them a copy of the book. It will help make their lives (and yours) a lot less stressful! Not that this book is only for students. A quote used on the back cover by the publishers is from the review of the first edition in a 1998 Law Society of Tasmania Law Letter. It says, ’sound advice for both lawyers and students’. The second edition has continued to offer the same. - Tasmanian Law Society Newsletter, June 2003

Every law student should have a copy of this. - Ross Anderson, Senior Lecturer in Law, The University of Sydney

Sound advice for both lawyers and students... - Law Letter - Law Society of Tasmania

Table of Contents

Part 1: Preparing Written Work
Decide the Purpose and Scope of the Writing Task
Prepare a Preliminary Plan
Gather Research Material
Prepare a First Draft
Revise the Draft
Check the Final Version
Retention of Written Assignments
Submission

Part 2 : Matters of Style
Quotations
Numbers, Quantities, Dates and Currency
Enumeration
Italics
Abbreviations and Contractions
Capitalisation
Spelling and Punctuation
Use of Brackets
English Usage
Use of Official Titles
Cases
Legislation
Avoiding Sexist Language
Avoiding Jargon, Weasel Words and Padding

Part 3: Notes and References
Purpose
Books
Classical Works
Articles in Periodicals
Cases
Legislation
Newspapers or Weekly Journals
Media Releases
Official Publications
Unpublished Material
Unwritten Sources: Interviews, Speeches, etc
Second-hand Citations
Citation of Electronic Material
Later References
Cross-references
Quotations in Footnotes and Endnotes
Indicating the Weight and Significance of Citations
Abbreviations and Contractions in Notes
Position and Spacing of Notes
Numbering of Notes

Part 4: Approaching Law Exams
Pre-exam Preparation
Types of Exam
What the Examiners are Looking For
On the Way to the Exam
In the Examination Room
How to Approach Law Exams?

Part 5 : Selected Bibliography
Guides to Writing Essays and Assignments
Style Guides (non legal)
Research Guides
Citation Guides
Exam Guides

Part 6: Self Assessment
Self Assessment of Research Skills
What Type of Student are You?
Successful or Struggling Student?