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Law research and writing skills: Approaching law assignments

law assignments

Advice on writing and study skills is provided by the Student Academic Success division; if you need further advice you can book a consultation with a Language and Learning Adviser.

Welcome to Approaching Law Assignments. This page gives you tips and resources for approaching a range of law assignments.

Law assignments, in general, have three major types -

  1. case notes (including a case summary and/or essay analysis)
  2. advice on possible solutions to a legal problem, e.g. legal memos, letters of advice, problem questions
  3. research essays and policy papers

These three types have distinctive features which affect your examiner’s expectations, so it's important to be familiar with each type of assignment. Note that assignments might have different purposes: for example a legal memo can be a 'legal practice' document submitted to a senior member of a law firm, OR a policy advice document submitted to a politician or a policy maker.

We also advise you to complete the unit on academic integrity and familiarise yourself with the different plagiarism and collusion. Both are serious academic offences that can result in failing a unit or exclusion from the university, but it may also affect admission as a lawyer. Be aware too that providing or accessing paid academic writing services is now a criminal offence.


We have prepared the worksheets and checklists below to help you with each step of the assignment research and writing process. We suggest you use each worksheet and checklist for each assignment during your first and second semester of law school to ensure you are on track for success. You may find it useful to return to the worksheets in your later years to refresh your memory.

To help you succeed at law school take a look at this book:

Legal writing skills


To do well and maintain good grades, you need to know how to study effectively.

See more at the Research and Learning Online: Understanding the assignment