Sunday, 23 December 2012

Welcome to Law Sessions with me, Jennifer Housen.  I have spent the last 10 years dedicated to legal training and this Blog is support for the website, http://www.lawsessions.com.  This Blog will not seek to 'teach' law, rather to guide law students on how they should 'think like a lawyer'.  I am always happy to see the excitement, anticipation and promise on the law students' faces on day one of starting their exciting law career journey.  However, too often, by the end of the course (exams, actually - - and receipt of the marks)...such promise, eager anticipation and keenness give way to heartache, despondency and genuine unhappiness as students receive their exam results and either fail to get the marks they hoped for or, worse, fail the subject.  Too often, the reason for failure is the way students write, and the way they discuss the answer to a law exam question.

It matters not whether you have a first class degree in History, English, Maths or any other degree (even an MBA or PhD!) the simple fact is, approaching law is completely different from anything you have ever done before.  My two favourite sayings when it comes to the law are (1) He is no lawyer who cannot argue both sides and (2) the only reason you are working for your client, is that the other side did not come to you first.  The reason I quite like these quotes, is that it pierces at the heart of how a law student should engage him/herself, i.e., you should be able to take the same law and facts, and argue for two different sides i.e., for the Plaintiff (or Prosecution) and the Defendant.  No matter how strong an argument you see for one (or the other), always, always remember that the other side also has arguments in their favour (albeit weak in your estimation).  Remember, the lawyer for Mrs Donoghue had lost a similar case only two weeks before; and Parker CJ in Fisher v Bell, was actually initially intrigued as to how a lawyer was going to convince him that a flick knife in a shop window was not an offer.

What this Blog will seek to do each week, is to take various LLB topics (or exam questions) and argue them from two sides.  Examiners are concerned with your ability to assess a set of facts and, using the law you know, apply them to those facts to give a cogent and reasonably argued outcome.  So the first thing you need as a law student, is to have done some reading (yes...I know...it's a lot)...but you must know the basics and have read at least one case.  My two personal favourites are Donoghue v Stevenson and Fisher v Bell.  They are simple and understandable and allow you to appreciate a legal discussion .

I will ask that you check each week to review the topic I have discussed (for and against) in this Blog.  Even if it is not a topic or subject you are currently covering, I would ask you to read it for style, focus and arguments, so that you can understand how you can approach answering exam an assignment questions.  I am pained when I see services which offer assignment writing.  Simply put, it is wrong, and it is cheating.  It doesn't help you and it doesn't help the future client.  If law is what you want to do as a career, then learn the rules.  Once you know the rules you can manipulate it the way you choose.  You will hone your writing skill and understand how to analyse the law.  Using an assignment writing service will not assist you.

I hope you will join me each week.

JH

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