Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
Ronán Kennedy, Jennifer Schweppe and Eimear Spain
2012 Unknown
Evaluating the Impact of Digital Resources in Higher Education
Teaching Legal Writing Using the Web: Possibilities and Practicalities
In Press
Optional Fields

This paper examines the difficulties faced by law students upon entering law school with learning how to read and write ‘in law’ and the challenges faced by lecturers in imparting this skill. Writing legal documents, opinion or texts requires a particular method of analysis along with a particular and exacting style of writing. Not only must the writing be, for the most part, unemotive and objective, but it must also follow strict rules and use precise formats. While teaching legal writing, the authors identified two major difficulties. First, traditional classroom based teaching approaches are no longer feasible as they require a significant commitment of staff time, particularly as student numbers increase and staffing resources decrease. Second, in teaching legal writing and research in Ireland, lecturers were until recently hampered by the unavailability of an Irish based and Irish focused text. This paper explores the attempt by two of the authors to deal with these challenges and the decision to create a unified set of teaching and learning materials for legal writing and research including a textbook How to Think, Write and Cite: Key Skills for Irish Law Students together with an interactive website,, containing self-assessment exercises linked directly to the textbook.  It is our contention that the experience of teaching students how to write is not unique to our discipline, and that our experiences and use of technology could usefully be applied in other contexts.


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