Building your Law Essay wasn’t the easiest process. You’ve done lots of research and prepared an outline. You have created several drafts of your document and have successfully gone into writing the actual essay, laying out your arguments and counterarguments. You have checked that the structure you have applied is appropriate for a Law essay; the Title, Introduction, Main Body and now Conclusion.
The Conclusion is an important piece of the puzzle. Though it comes as the very last part of your essay, it should by no means be any less important. Most students don’t pay much attention to this section because they assume the work has already been done in the introduction or main body, but this is rather contrary to the truth. The conclusion should be the climax of your writing, reinforcing all the major points you have brought out in the essay in some sort of summary.
The summary shouldn’t be merely a repetition of what you have already stated, but it should serve to shed a different kind of thinking and perspective bearing all these facts in mind.
Paying keen attention to your conclusion will ensure that your professor never puts down the paper until the very last sentence is finished. Here are key pointers that you should remember when writing your conclusion.
The conclusion is the climax of the build up
The best essays follow a logical flow right from the Title all the way down to Conclusion. Your conclusion should ideally be enough to give a summary to anyone about the rest of the essay and what you were trying to address. The conclusion should be the next natural flow of events once you are done writing out your arguments and counterarguments. This section allows you to reinforce the main ideas that you were trying to put across in preceding sections.
Just like the climax of a good movie or a storybook, this part should be relatable to the previous sections, and the flow should be both logical and natural.
Do not veer off course or introduce new tangents
A major mistake that students make is to bring in new angles and arguments in the conclusion. This is a terrible way to conclude your essay because it effectively derails whatever flow might be present in previous sections and you may effectively lose the attention of the person reading your paper.
The purpose of your conclusion is to restate your main arguments and counterarguments albeit in a summary form. You want to fully convince the reader about your prescriptive solution by reinforcing your arguments and answer set, and these must always show consistency with that which you have already put across in previous sections.
Consistency in writing will go a long way in helping you come up with the best ending for your paper. If you have already explored conclusions in the main body of your essay, repeating them in this section would be quite redundant. This point ties in to the structure of a proper legal essay, which requires that the conclusion be derived specifically at this section.
Make an overarching statement to conclude the essay
The conclusion should tie up all your loose ends without seeking to expound on any subject further. If there is a possibility of further research being done in the subject area, elucidate this briefly. The conclusion feeds directly from your essay question, and one reading your introduction and conclusion should be able to see the results of the essay without going into much detail.
There might be more than one concluding statement. However, the main point to be put across runs parallel to the essay question. You essay has given you the chance to pursue the hypothesis and build your arguments. Along the way of pursuing these arguments, you may have lost your reader or they may have gotten too engrossed in reading your essay that they somehow forgot what your study sought to do.
With an overarching account of the main goals of the essay and a statement that addresses the essay question directly, you will be able to bring back the reader into your reality, only this time with the advantage of your perspective. The reader should then be able to relate the entire conversation from the hypothesis, your analysis, the findings and your own articulate solution to the same challenge.
Let it be a summary
It is important to keep your conclusion as short and succinct as possible. Ideally, the proper word count for this section should be about 10 to 15% of the entire essay word count. You will restate the main points and arguments that you set to put across, while avoiding bringing up any new arguments or tangents in this section. This will help keep your conclusion short enough. If you had broken down the thesis question into a variety of smaller questions to aid you build your arguments, you can use this section to summarize the responses and thus in effect, keep flow with the man body. By adhering to the rule of not introducing any new arguments in your conclusion, you will automatically find yourself keeping this section short enough.
Relate the conclusion directly to the introduction
The introduction of your essay aims to introduce an argument, and gives the reader an idea of what methodologies will be employed to go about solving the problem. The introduction also makes the reader aware and open to the possibilities of new perspectives coming out of this study and the significance of those new perspectives.
The conclusion should therefore address these three issues directly, and summarize any other findings that have come about the study. This section summarizes the findings of the arguments and the implications of the same on the study. It also provides a summary of the writer’s analysis of the essay question and the arguments used to come up with a solution. The conclusion will also provide the student with the opportunity to make and share any observations which might affect the field of study in the future. For example, what would be the implications of taking a dissimilar approach in the future when trying to solve the same problem? Or maybe what legal loopholes might exist in the laws and legal precedence constraining the case study?
This is your opportunity to comment on arising issues without starting off on new tangents. What might be the implications of your study or assessments in the broader scope? Keep off the word ‘conclusion’ anywhere else in the study until you get to this section.
Avoid getting personal
A huge mistake that students make when writing up this section is to make their observations highly personal or polarizing. It is crucial to remain objective even if you are giving a personal opinion. Objective in the sense that you have followed clear guidelines and have already proven your opinions in the preceding sections. You are open to give a legal opinion based on fact. You are also welcome to give your assessment of the study and the possible implications of the study. Any personal opinions arising from a legal objective should be highly subtle.
The use of certain statements in the conclusion may make you come across as pompous. Be careful with the use of adverbs that exaggerate or intensify what the reader already knows, as you don’t want to sound like you are imposing your own ideas on the reader. From your arguments and summary, the reader should already have a pretty good idea of what’s coming their way.
If you must, use the present perfect tense and avoid drawing the reader in with words such as ‘you’ or ‘they’. For example, you could say something like:
“Chapter 1 provides us with a clear examination of the failures of the Immigration Act”, and then summarize your points supporting this assessment.
In Law, it is always important to be guided by jurisprudence and the conclusion of the essay is no different. This section is not an opportunity to rant and you should avoid making personal observations the focal point of your conclusion. Remember that as your reader goes through your paper, they too are forming their own opinions and weighing you against a scale. If you make a mistake and introduce your own idiosyncrasies to the arguments, you risk completely irking your reader who may already be disagreeing with your observations even before they begin reading this section.
The conclusion will depend on the intentions of the essay question; whether it was to provide an observation, an analysis or a solution to a problem. Depending on which of these three angles you are working on, the conclusion will be structured or phrased appropriately to provide an adequate response.
Keep it objective and always remember that there are always two sides of the coin and multiple perspectives in Law. However, you can do this while keeping your conclusion completely objective and reflective.