How to Write a Report in Law: What is it & Why Is It Important for College Committees?

What does it mean to report in law? It means to choose and investigate some legal information, structure it, present the data to the specific audience. Consequently, it should also have a purpose. Students may be asked to present a summary of the report. In this case, students can do it orally to reflect only key elements of the topic. Summaries are less formal compared to full-text reports. The second way of presentation is more detailed and demands a written form. This type of report is complete (also called full-text) and must correspond to rules not only in formatting but in grammar and structure as well.

What is the purpose of such an academic assignment in law? Thanks to reports, professors and tutors can discover their students’ abilities to reflect analyzed information. The importance of this written task includes the following benefits:

  • Reports mirror the most important issues of the case or articles in the law;
  • Students show their knowledge and written skills through reporting;
  • This type of writing helps to make more effective decisions;
  • A well-balanced report assists in solutions of law problems.

It goes without saying that full reports have higher value and are more time-consuming. Sometimes professors ask students to write summaries because they are not sure that students will handle a more complicated task. One more reason can be a lack of time. Full-text law reports require more pages (words), thorough editing, and more time for its creation.

Note! Judgment transcripts do not equal to complete reports! They just serve as a source of information and even together with the summary cannot be regarded as a full-text report in law. Nevertheless, they are to be cited in the full-text report.

Students often feel bored when writing academic papers. How to make it fun for you? The best variant is to imagine that you are Sherlock Holmes and you are going to investigate a case and suggest your solution. You will feel like a key character whose job is to shed some light on a mysterious case or difficult issue.

How to Write a Report in Law: Topics to Consider when Writing a Report

Reports in law need excellent topics. The college committee wants to see works in which topics are up-to-date or that contribute something new to the popular ones. Sometimes professors just want to know whether students are able to find a worthy case and present key elements of the process.
Experts have provided a list of topics that might interest the target audience:

Tired of all the guides and never-ending instructions?
  • Law Regulations Concerning the Interference of Drones with Private Lives of Law-Abiding Persons;
  • Is It Legal to Conceal the Truth about the Governmental War Strategy in Democratic Countries?
  • What Can Reduce the Number of Cases in Domestic Violence?
  • Sexual Violence and Discrimination Against Female Representatives in Egypt;
  • Rights of Animals and Approval of Drugs: How to Stop Animal Testing.

A student can find court cases or articles related to pressing problems and write a report. One should connect the investigated problem or case with other cases to highlight the importance of the report and the provided solution.
Before one starts writing, a person should ask the following questions to become topic-oriented and plan everything.

  1. What data do I require?
  2. Do I need the information to provide the background for my report?
  3. Where can I find articles and documents to convince the reader?
  4. What local and online libraries can help me? Do I have to go to another city to get the required information?
  5. Do I need to interview someone? Who?
  6. How will it be better to record data?
  7. What results can I receive and are they valuable for the target reader?
  8. Who is my target audience?
  9. How much time do I need?
  10. When is the deadline?

How to Write a Report in Law: Structure and Peculiarities of Each Section

An average report includes the following structural elements as an introduction, methodology, outcome, and discussion. Reports in law a little bit differ from average reports. It looks more like a thesis paper due to the required sections. A report in law must have 8 structural components:

  • Title Page
  • Summary or Synopsis
  • Table of Contents
  • Body
  • Concluding part
  • Recommendation(s)
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography

As far as you can see, there is no typical introduction part. Instead of an introduction, a person should provide a summary of the case.

To make the readability and content easier for understanding, professionals use diagrams, tables, and pictures. It is also essential to use a specialized vocabulary. Due to that, a person will be able to sound convincing and even influence the decision (for example, to undertake the offered action or make the audience take a concrete position).

If the text is lengthy, there must be headings and subheadings that divide the text into thematic sections. Such reports might also include in-text citations and footnotes. One should explain difficult points within the text and support facts and statistics by references.

Let’s speak about each constituent part of the report in law separately.

Title Page

This part introduces the report. It contains information of the author, details about the college, date, and the title of the report. If it concerns a concrete legal case, the title page can contain the surname of the judge and parties.

Title Sample: Supreme Court. The Cortners v Blackwoods: Custody of Children

or Health Care Regulations of the European Union in Refugee Camps

The format of the date is the following: 2019 July 19; September 21.

Judges: Brown, Thomas, Irwin.

Summary

This part resembles an introduction. It takes approximately 10 percent of the whole paper and identifies the goal of the report, its details, length. Consequently, students should mention what issues they have covered and what not, indicate important findings and results, and, of course, summing up and recommendations. To conclude, summaries and synopses present the core idea and value of the report.

Table of Contents

A student should create a table of contents to reflect the structure of the report with the indicated pages excluding the title page and the table of contents. It will simplify the reading and let the target audience find the required elements easier.

Body

This is the peculiarity of the report. The body of a report in law contains the introduction of the report and the discussion of the case including subsections (paragraphs). It is very important to express everything clearly and precisely. This section deals rather with facts than with personal opinion and analysis.

Concluding Part

Here a student should not mention things that were not described in the previous parts of the report. It must be an informative conclusion of the case and findings.

Recommendations

Recommendations are the result of the summarizing part. It offers solutions to the problem, suggests the individuals who are going to perform it, and required time. Facts must support the findings and the recommendation a person provides in the paper.

Appendix

This section presents supporting tables, diagrams, audio and video materials, and pictures that cannot be included in the text. Some details make the text massive and need to be separated from it. Nevertheless, a person has to enumerate additional materials and give links to them in the report.

Bibliography

Students are not professional lawyers yet. Consequently, they need literature to learn more about the topic and the case. A student has to cite the used sources in the bibliography section. It must be presented in alphabetical order and guarantee only reliable literature.

Students must be careful when creating a literature selection, especially, when one speaks about online sources. Trustworthy reliable websites have regular updating, contact information, and support the provided data with references. This is the list of sources on might use to write a law report.

Do not forget to cite sources appropriately. The online generator of citations increases the chances of getting higher scores that depend not only on good content but on formatting as well.

How to Write a Report in Law: After-Writing Tips to Improve the Report

Students finish the report and then have to do several things to improve it. Professional writers give 5 tips.

Requirements

Each college has requirements for different academic assignments. Students read them before they proceed to write. It often happens that performers forget about something. That is why it is important to read requirements once again before handing in the report to make sure that nothing is missed. One should keep in mind the requirements to do what one has to do and the way it must be done.

Proofreading

A perfect report mustn’t have grammar and lexical mistakes. Moreover, students often confuse facts or forget to check their reliability. That is why a person has to proofread the text of the report and see if everything is logical and trustable. In case the report presents the wrong information, a student will have problems. The committee can ban the paper or return it to you because of invalid data.

A student should better read several times to notice both grammar mistakes and logical connection between the structures of the report. Sometimes a student provides facts but their order is not reasonable. Proofreading helps to improve the logical sequence of information.

Many online tools scan texts and point to grammar and lexical mistakes. For example, Grammarly and Grammar Checker help students find mistakes and provide better word selection, punctuation, correction of misspelled words, word order, readability, fluency, formatting, etc.

Try to read the report to your friends or relatives. Imagine that you are in court. Look at the reaction of your friends. Do they look convinced and interested? Does your speech resembles those of key characters in “The Suits”? If yes, then your report is doomed to be successful.

Plagiarism

Reports are to be unique. Today one can find numerous samples of reports in law on the Internet. They guide students and show how to compose excellent reports. Nevertheless, students often try to cheat and just copy and paste the ready sample papers. Some of them don’t know that all colleges use plagiarism checkers to find out the uniqueness of the report. The results make them feel angry and they can either ban the paper and tarnish the student’s reputation or expel the student from the university.

So, it is better not to plagiarize works and check their uniqueness by online checkers.

Formatting

One of the most difficult in formatting sections of the report is the bibliography page. APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago formats are the most popular types that differ in spacing, fonts and their size, margins, ways of words’ emphasis, headings, numbering and paragraphing. Colleges often ask students to use MLA and APA formats when dealing with the Literature section.

List of Abbreviations and Notions

Sometimes students find abbreviations in sources and give them in the report. It is better to provide a list of abbreviations with their transcriptions to avoid misunderstanding and misspelling. A report can have notions that need explanations a student has to add to the appendix or within the text.

Professional writers offer to follow all recommendations and take care of the surrounding a person creates in. Experienced students say that ‘lack of snacks’ and ‘regular meals’ were the most irritating distractors. Consequently, one should first prepare some snacks and food that one can warm up in the microwave or that does not need reheating like salads. In case you don’t have time to cook, you should have the number or email of the delivery service at your fingertips.

One should think of possible distractions and delete them. These might be noises, phone calls, messages, bad illumination, uncomfortable chair and table, a low battery of the laptop, etc. That is why it is necessary to apply silent mode on your phone and choose the most favorable place for writing. The better you feel the more productive you can become.

References:

  1. Law Report. n.d. Duhaime, Legal Dictionary, retrieved from http://www.duhaime.org/LegalDictionary/L/LawReport.aspx
  2. Current Legal Topic. n.d. Library of Congress, retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/law/help/current-topics.php
  3. M. Firestone, “Formatting Style: Types and Examples”. Study.com, retrieved from https://study.com/academy/lesson/formatting-style-types-examples-quiz.html

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