Having spent some months now in law school, you are certainly no stranger to the fact that legal drafting is one of the top shots of the bar exam. To tell you the truth, it is one of the cheapest ways to score good marks during your exams. The problem is it’s also one of he easiest ways to fail. In law school, you would quickly learn that getting one quarter mark has an impact, small as it may seem. And guess one of the ways to get a quarter mark? By remembering to add the date to your draft. Yes, you heard right. Sometimes, its as simple as the date. So, here’s a few tips to help you master your drafting skills and score some easy marks at the bar exam.

  1. DO NOT CRAM DRAFTS: One of the biggest mistakes law students make is presuming that they can cram their drafts the same way they cram other parts of their note. Do not make that mistake. I can see how easy it is to get carried away especially because on the face of it, most drafts bear a similar structure. The court heading, the suit/motion/case no, the parties, the title and then the draft itself. Most drafts are also concluded the same way. The problem however with cramming a draft is how easy it gets to forget one step. And remember, you miss one step here, another step there and you’re losing two/three marks. Easy two marks for that matter. Don’t do it.
  2. PRACTICE YOUR DRAFTS: Learning this secret in law school went a long way to giving me the good result I got. The reason you’re better off practicing your drafts rather than just reading through them or cramming them is the expertise it gives you. While the saying practice makes perfect might be cliché, it has never been more apt as with the issue of drafting. The thing about the bar exams is the that it comes with a lot of nerves. The kind of nerves that make you confused as to whether the right phrase is “Holden At”or “Holden In”. LOL. It is “Holden At” just in case you were wondering, but a mistake like that would cost you another quarter mark. See where I’m going with this? There are just things you cannot afford to do.
  3. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LITIGATION DRAFTS: Another very easy way to lose marks is to confuse some of the key things that differentiate a criminal case and a civil one. Starting with parties. For example, you have civil litigation before you. You’ve been asked to draft a motion on notice for substitution. You’re so excited because you know just how to draft it. You start right. You get to your parties, write the first name and then put complainant. Yeah…. That’s half mark down the drain because it should have been claimant. So please, pay attention to these seemingly unimportant things. They are very important I assure you.
  4. KNOW YOUR JURISDICTIONS: Nothing makes grown up people try to start learning their states and capitals and the geographical zones like the bar exams. It’s funny but it can be damning. Because here’s the thing. In criminal litigation, you have two different drafts for the north and the south. So, you see in the High Court in the North, you will draft a Charge. In the South, you will draft an Information. Both are worded very differently. So, say you draft an information instead of a charge, no matter how wonderfully drafted your information is, you have lost the entire marks allotted to that draft. So, it is very important that you know your jurisdictions and the proper drafts for them.
  5. IF YOU DON’T REMEMBER A LAW, LEAVE IT BLANK: As you well know, especially regarding your civil litigation, when writing your draft title, it must be brought pursuant to a law usually an Order. If you cannot remember the specific order and rule you are bringing your draft pursuant to, please do not attempt guess work. Leave it blank. You will not be penalised for leaving it blank even though you might not get the full marks for that. However, if you write the wrong law, you fail the whole thing.

The simple reality is legal drafting is one of the easiest ways to boost your scores during your exams but its also one of the biggest culprits of dropping your scores. So, pay attention to these secrets and you’re well on your way to having a good run with legal drafting.



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