Law essays are meant to be hard.

Any law essay question good enough to test a student will require a great deal of research on an ever-changing and unfamiliar topic. So how do you write a winning essay?

Read through your main textbook on this particular topic. Note any resources they have used in their writing (you can often do this by looking at the footnotes) and make a note of these. Work through your list of additional resources as well.

Your examiners have set the reading list because they believe it contains what you need to consider. Reduce the burden of your workload. Read the most recent sources on your list first, as these will have the most up-to-date information. In addition, the most recent articles may well also have discussed, argued for and against and reached conclusions on the prior articles listed, so this will ease your reading burden!

From the most recent arguments, you should be able to deduce which are the most important older articles to follow up. Targeted reading should give you a few ideas on tacking the problems set without being overloaded by irrelevant details. You can now draw up an essay plan to set out the argument(s) which you intend to present, with a conclusion, which is an overall view of those arguments. Split your main thoughts or ideas into ‘arguments’ and devote paragraphs to those.

Let’s start writing.

Your introduction should follow the essay plan: start with the main points of the argument, and follow by indicating how the arguments will be delivered by each paragraph.

Start writing your essay. The main point of the paragraph should be contained in the first sentence.Bring in new information that you haven't covered in the course or that isn't in the main textbook if possible. An essay is a place to show your ability by developing your own original thoughts as well, backing these up with precedents and other authors' discussions.Concision, precision, relevance. Law essays tend to be long! Try to be as concise as possible, and use "plain English".

Keep an argument simple and short. Good lawyers make their points succinctly and do not need repetition to hammer a good point.The better student will submit a define the core words of a topic and move to a deep explanation or discussion of the thoughts underlying the main argument. He or she will then move to discuss some counter-arguments, if the question calls for that. The poorer student will simply describing the word(s) from the essay topic. One theme or argument should be discussed in each paragraph. If there are no strong themes or argument(s) or if argument(s) have not been thought through thoroughly, then the essay is not going to work even if you has a good essay plan.

Keep an eye on the content. Constantly ask yourself whether the argument is relevant to the question. The conclusion is the ‘last chance’ for adjusting the content and the overall law essay structure. No new ideas or materials should be introduced or discussed in the conclusion. If the points in the conclusion do not match the introduction or the body of the essay, you may need to re-write part or the whole of the essay.Think you’ve finished?Proof read through the essay before you print off the final copy.

Submit your essay - on time, within word length and with all appropriate supporting documentation attached, including the declaration of originality. Last words! Some readers may run this through “copyscape” and realise that I have used materials from other websites. That’s what research is about. The difference between my “essay” and theirs is the structure - I’ve used their material, honed it, made it more concise and precise and, finally, used a better structure.

Conclusion: Send me your last failed essay and I’ll show you how to re-write it.