Legal Writing Skills Guide
Do you write essays or answers to problem questions without understanding what you are supposed to do?
Do you know how marks are awarded for written work?
Do you want to do better in your legal assignments?
The ability to write clear, concise and accurate documents is an essential skill for anyone working in the legal field. A thorough understanding of the legal writing process will also help you maximise your marks for written assignments.
About this resource
This resource helps you develop your own writing skills. If you work through all the video modules you should be able to:
- Understand the nature of essay and problem questions
- Understand assessment and grading criteria
- Identify relevant legal issues
- Plan your answer
- Write and present the issues
- Reference correctly
- Polish and submit your final answer
The Legal Writing Skills Guide is based on Lisa Webley's book, Legal Writing, which also covers writing legal dissertations. Dr Lisa Webley, LLB, MA, is a Reader in Law at the University of Westminster and a Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London. She teaches legal skills, research methods and public law.
PLANNING YOUR ANSWER
WRITING AND REFERENCING
Try it yourself! Enter one of these essay competitions:
TOP 10 TIPS FOR LEGAL WRITING SUCCESS
- Read the question thoroughly to make sure you understand the task you have been set and the format and schedule requirements.
- Read through the assessment and grading criteria to gain an understanding of how your written work will be assessed and graded.
- Don't start to write unless you understand the task!
- Make sure you have researched all the relevant information. See the Research Skills Guide for more information.
- Before you start writing, create an answer plan based on the question, your research and the key issues you have identified.
- Use a new paragraph to cover each new issue.
- If you use someone else's words or ideas, cite the source fully and accurately.
- Do not introduce new ideas in your conclusion.
- When you have finished your draft, leave it alone for 24 hours before checking it again.
- Reread your final draft to check you have answered the question.
Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations
Citing the Law using OSCOLA
Clive M. Schmitthoff Essay Competition
Lawbore guide to Understanding Legal Abbreviations
Newcastle University's guide to the importance of legal writing
Persuading judges in writing article
The Bar Council Essay Competition
The good, the fair and the ugly (what makes the difference between a really high-scoring exam answer and a really poor answer? Find the answers on our revision support site by clicking on any of the Q&A book jackets)
The Times Law Awards