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Throughout law school, students will be asked to assess their own essays by comparing them to a model or sample student answer provided by their professor. It can often be difficult to distinguish one’s work from the model. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish what a student knows, from what they wrote down. Experienced legal writers understand that subtle differentiation in language changes the meaning of what was written. This lesson will provide students with strategies for self-assessment, so that they can become critical judges of their work, and consequently precise legal writers.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the lesson, the student will be able to:
1. Identify concrete deficiencies in essay answers.
2. Critically assess written work in comparison to a model or sample answer.
3. Revise their written work based on engagement with a model or sample answer.

Lesson Completion Time
45 minutes


  • Allie Robbins

    Professor Robbins teaches primarily in the areas of academic skills and bar exam support. Her scholarship focuses on the areas of workers’ rights in global supply chains, legal education, and the bar exam. She is also the editor and writer of Passing the Bar (, a blog about studying for the bar exam.

    Associate Professor of Law
    City University of New York Law School

The Open Legal Education Project is a CALI initiative to bring resource to public legal education.