Writing Law Essays
Legal writing may present particular difficulties to students unaccustomed to the subject matter and style. This chapter discusses how best to use the reader research time, and how to present their work. Legal encyclopedias are another useful source of general information. Again, these services attempt to simplify the law—though in this case for practitioners more than students. The loose-leaf encyclopedias are particularly useful because they will be more up-to-date than most textbooks. As in non-legal writing, references commonly indicate the use of another person’s ideas. If reader take an idea or quote without properly acknowledging the author’s contribution to their work, this is a form of plagiarism—a sort of academic theft. The basic rule is that the readers should be able to read entire essay without having to refer to the footnotes at all. If the text does not make sense without the footnotes, the readers are probably relying too much on reader jumping from text to footnotes and back.