Law essay writing – Types, structure, and 7 general guidelines for Law essay writing

Law essay writing is said to be a critical examination of a new piece of legislation or a recent case in light of current laws or legal principles. The study of the legal profession is filled with all kinds of complexities. Complexities like answering problem questions, legal essays, and the different referencing styles used in writing legal papers.

Whereas problem questions require the application of the law to particular dilemmas, legal essays demand the resolution of various kinds of controversies. This requirement seems easy enough but the writing of such essays could be tricky and demanding. One could easily take a wrong turn without proper guidance. This article will identify the different types of legal essays and also educate you on how to produce a well-written legal essay regardless of its type.

TYPES OF LEGAL ESSAYS -Law essay writing

In order to produce a well-written legal essay, one must first of all, be able to identify the types of legal essays. Legal essays can broadly be grouped into four, namely:

  • Legal Reform Essays
  • Legal History Essays
  • Legal Argumentative Essays.
  • Legal Theory Essays.


Legal Reform Essays border on the formation, re-evaluation, and reformation of laws in a country. Such essays can take two basic forms which are:

  • Legal essays ask individuals to examine a recent legal reformation in the country.
  • Essays that tell individuals to attack certain laws in a country that need to be reformed.

When faced with Legal Reform essays, it is important to do the following:

  • Carry out proper legal research. If proper research is carried out, it will be easy to identify the problems associated with the laws.
  • Have a distinct understanding of the law, that way it will be easy to identify the laws that need to be reformed.
  • Be familiar with the past law and its currently reformed law, that way it will be easier to evaluate, compare and criticize the law.

Examples of Legal Reform Essay topics include:

  • Discuss the impact of the One year, One day rule in the Nigerian Courts with special reference to the effect it has on the passing of criminal justice in the country.
  • The Nigerian constitution, which is the source of all Nigerian laws has remained unchanged since 1999, despite the dynamics in the country and the world beyond. Outline the effects of this law on the economy and lifestyle of the Nigerian Citizens.
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As the name implies, such essays are directed at the changes in certain laws over time and their impact on a geographical setting. Like its predecessor, writing such essays demand legal research as well as basic knowledge of statutes and cases. With basic knowledge of statutes and cases, one will easily be able to identify the dynamics in the law and the reasons or factors that contributed to these changes.

Examples of legal history essay topics include:

  • Is the scope of labour law still applicable in modern-day employment practices?
  • How has the rule in Pinnel’s case evolved over the years?


Typically, all legal essays make provisions for areas where the writer ought to buttress his/her views regarding the subject matter of the essay. What differentiates a legal argumentative essay from the rest, however, is the fact that these arguments take up the bulk part of the essay. In other words, identifying and disrupting other views on the subject matter as well as airing your views and opinions with legal provisions is very vital in such essays.


An essay can be said to belong to the legal theory class when it requires the discussion of specific laws and the reason behind the formation of such laws. When faced with such essays, it is important to know that you are not simply defining the law as it is, you are also stating the reason why the law is the way it is.


A properly structured legal essay is tantamount to an orderly essay. Similarly, an orderly essay equals a proper understanding of the subject matter, easy readability, and good scores. A legal essay broadly consists of three parts namely:

  • Introduction.
  • Body.
  • Conclusion.

The introductory part of an essay tells the reader(s) or examiner what the essay is all about. It consists of a general overview of what the essay will portray and how it will be carried out. It is important to always begin the introduction of an essay with the definition of the subject matter of the essay. The thesis statement comes right after the brief history or general knowledge regarding the subject matter.

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A thesis statement is a sentence that directly answers the essay question. For example, when asked to write about the effects of the constitution on the economy, you begin by defining the constitution. Then you state in a few words, what the economy was like before the creation of the constitution and how it is now. The next line will then be the thesis statement which will portray whether or not the economy was affected in a good way.

The rest of the introduction will be used to demonstrate the aim of the essay backed up with summarized points supporting the thesis statement.

The introductory part of an essay ought to be brief and inviting.

  1. BODY

The body is the largest and most important part of an essay. It is a collection of the complete breakdown of the points or arguments mentioned in the introductory part of the essay and it ought to contain 75% of the essay’s word count.

The body of the essay can be grouped into three or more paragraphs depending on the word count and the number of points to be proved. However, it should be noted that a standard essay ought to have a minimum of three paragraphs. Each paragraph introduces a new point or argument to the essay.

A properly structured paragraph must consist of the following:


A topic sentence is the first sentence in a paragraph, its main aim is to tell the reader or examiner what the paragraph is all about. In other words, the topic sentence contains the main point or argument in that paragraph.


This is a more detailed version of the topic sentence. For example, if the topic sentence in a paragraph contains a brief sentence about the first impact of the constitution on the economy, the second sentence, which is the explanation will tell the readers why the topic sentence was stated.


Evidence could come in form of statutory authority or a case revolving around and supporting both the topic sentence and the explanation part of the paragraph.


This section of the paragraph tests the strengths and weaknesses of the point established. For example, if you made a point, explained the point, and backed it up with evidence, you will tell the reader or examiner why you think the point ought to be backed up with the authority it was backed up with and why.

  • LINK:

This will be the last line in the paragraph. Its sole aim will be to summarize and link the point provided in this paragraph back to the general subject matter in the essay.


This is the final section of an essay, unlike its predecessors, it does not introduce any new point to the paragraph. It is a brief summary of all the points stated in the essay.

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A well-structured conclusion must consist of the following:

  • A remake of the thesis statement.
  • A brief summary of all the points stated in the essay and their importance in the essay.
  • A short note linking all the points together and backing them up with statutory authorities.


A well-drafted legal essay demands proper structure, however in order to add value and quality to the essay, one must put the following guidelines into practice:

  1. Understand the subject matter of the essay as well as the type of essay before embarking on a research journey.
  2. Carry out proper research of the subject matter before commencing the essay.
  3. Make proper use of the language of law while writing the essay. The language of law includes properly constructed sentences, legal jargon as well as Latin phrases.
  4. Make the sentences as brief as possible.
  5. Cite proper legal authorities.
  6. Make use of the proper legal referencing style. Legal referencing styles includes OSCOLA and Bluebook.
  7. Write first then read, re-read and edit the essay before submitting it.

Thank you for reading. We hope you got value for your time. If you need a law school essay writing service, law essay writing help, or the best law essay writing service? You can contact us today.


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