SSRN is an electronic distribution service which allows scholars to circulate their research worldwide more quickly than they typically can through conventional journals or books. Posted papers are easily accessible without charge to anyone with access to the Internet. The Buffalo Legal Studies series is open to all UB members of faculty writing in the broad area of legal studies, and also to scholars from other institutions who present papers here.
You can start at the beginning or see all posts in the series. The final paper has become a common law school evaluation method. Here are 10 steps to writing a great law school paper.
Determine Expectations Find out what your professor expects. Ask to see examples of great papers from prior classes. How long should the paper be? Is the page limit really a page maximum, minimum or specific length mandate?
What about font, margins, spacing? Find out if the paper and the footnotes should be spaced the same. Do footnotes count in the page count? Does your professor care about proper Bluebooking of footnotes?
Should you have oodles of footnotes like in law review articles? Or would the professor find that tedious and unnecessary?
If footnotes count in the page limit, this is a real consideration—make sure you know the answer. Does your professor have a preference as to how the paper should be organized?
What about the ratio between background and analysis? How about headings and subheadings? Does your professor care? Does your professor have any pet peeves or strong preferences regarding what should be in your paper?
As an adjunct, I have answered all these questions for my students because I have strong preferences. They know what I expect regarding mechanics. They know I care little about how they format citations, but that I consider the rigor of their research to be important, that analysis is the most important part of the paper, and that I expect them to be concise, write plainly, and edit well.
Choose a Good Topic Spend time selecting your topic. This is an important decision. A common problem that students make is tackling a topic that is too large or too amorphous to analyze in the page limit.
Another common misstep is to choose a paper topic that does not allow you to demonstrate course knowledge. My best advice is therefore to choose a narrow topic that will allow you to demonstrate mastery of course material.
Conduct Rigorous Research Once you identify the issue that you want to address in your paper, create a research plan. Start by determining how will you get the necessary background information to address the subject.
Spend time getting a handle on the issue. Then dig deeper into cases, statutes, articles, and other sources to inform your analysis of the topic. Most students are not rigorous when they research.
On at least some level, your professor is an expert on the subject matter and will know whether you invested time in your research. The more discrete the course subject, the more likely your professor has deep knowledge of the area and the harder it will be to impress him or her with your research.
If you get stuck or think you have enough, ask your professor. Most professors who ask students to write papers want students to enjoy writing their papers and to put a great deal of effort into the pursuit.
Demonstrate to your teacher that you are indeed trying hard, see if he or she asks you to try harder. Create an Outline with Subheadings As with any written work, think before you write. Since a final paper has no time limit, the professor will expect a well-organized paper. To accomplish this, start with an outline.
Decide what you want to write before you start drafting. It should start with the taxonomy of the course subject and then drill down to the issue addressed in the paper.Legal Research Outline – First Semester overruled – research tool. o. Find law reviews, text or treatises, ALR, etc.
Shepard’s – used to be a paper one, but most libraries don’t subscribe o Westlaw Westlaw uses flags to show the treatment of the case. March 1, - 12 AM. A.N., 3L. My last post focused on the institutional features at Yale Law School that enable students here to get a head start on building an academic career.
I emphasized in that post the importance of creating a portfolio of publishable academic writing . circumstances, or gaps in the literature. You, of cour se, want your research to be useful and do not want to simply restate something that someone else has already written. You may also ask your professor or a lawyer Some Basics of a Law School Paper Every paper needs an introduction, main body, and a conclusion.
This comment may sound. March 1, - 12 AM. A.N., 3L.
My last post focused on the institutional features at Yale Law School that enable students here to get a head start on building an academic career. I emphasized in that post the importance of creating a portfolio of publishable academic writing as the foundation of a career in legal academia.
Work undertaken in the form of independent research, supervised by a faculty member in full-time residence at the Law School, also may satisfy the SRP requirement. A student’s second, or other, writing project can, but need not, be of the SRP form.
How to Format a Research Paper. There are a number of sources you can turn to for research paper examples and, depending on your field of study, a plethora of potential high quality topics exist to pull your subject matter from.