LL4F9      Half Unit
Legal Research and Writing Skills

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Thomas Poole


This course is compulsory on the LLM (extended part-time) and LLM (full-time). This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course on Legal Research and Writing has a taught component focusing on research and writing skills and a stand-alone dissertation (details about which may be found in the LLM Handbook), to be written in a substantive law area of the student’s choice.

The two components will be carefully integrated. Over the taught part of the course, students should gain a better understanding of:

• the nature of research in general; the distinctive features of legal research and the range of questions and research methodologies to be found within legal scholarship;

• how to conduct legal research, including research design, refining a research question, resource identification and searching for relevant materials; legal referencing and citation skills;

• how to develop legal writing skills, relating to both the process of writing, as well as the end-product; integrating a literature review; and presenting findings to a scholarly audience, etc.

Topics for the lectures will be: (1) Choosing your dissertation topic; (2) Research methods; (3) Writing skills; (4) Library skills, referencing and plagiarism.

The two tutorials will have a small group format (usually 4-5 students in each tutorial) and will focus on: (1) developing your research proposal; and (2) writing skills. One of the aims of the tutorials will be to prepare students for their two dissertation supervisions with faculty members.

The course will also offer the opportunity to participate in workshops. For example, there are skills sessions run by the LSE Library designed for students on this course to develop their legal research skills and awareness of the resources on offer in the LSE Library and beyond. The course also links in closely to the programme of workshops and events offered by the LSE Life centre, and the most relevant of these support sessions will be referenced on this course.


8 hours of lectures and 1 hour of classes in the LT. 1 hour of classes in the ST.

Other Workshops and drop-in sessions as may be advertised during the course.

Formative coursework

Students will be invited to prepare a short writing samples and dissertation plans, etc., for their tutorials.


Dissertation (100%, 10000 words) post-summer term.

See the LLM handbook for full details and regulations about the dissertation.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2018/19: 306

Average class size 2018/19: 5

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information