Legal Skills (7th edition)

Emily Finch; Stefan Fafinski
  • Equips students with all the skills they need from finding and using cases at the start of their degree through to final year exams and dissertations
  • Self-test questions and practical activities throughout give students the opportunity to take a hands-on approach to tackling a wide range of legal skills
  • Diagrams, screenshots and examples used throughout to illustrate key concepts
  • Accompanied by comprehensive online resources which include an extensive range of videos, multiple choice questions and answers to the self-test questions and practical exercises from the book

New to this Edition:

  • A new introductory chapter on what studying law is all about and getting started
  • A completely reworked chapter on study skills that places greater emphasis on developing a reflective approach to skills development and which includes new material on building good study habits, group working and strategies for strengthening performance
  • Commentary on the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and Brexit
  • Explanation of the different types of Convention rights - absolute, limited and qualified
  • Additional material on reasons to do a dissertation, choosing a topic and getting started, to help students approach dissertations with confidence
  • The section on different sources of literature has been expanded and is supplemented by a new section on managing literature
  • Tips on working effectively and productively with a supervisor including managing problems


The best-selling legal skills textbook in the market, Legal Skills is the essential guide for law students, encompassing all the academic and practical skills in one manageable volume.
It is an ideal text for students new to law, helping them make the transition from secondary education and giving them the skills they need to succeed from the beginning of their degree, through exams and assessments and into their future career.
The first part covers 'Sources of Law' and includes information on finding and using legislation, ensuring an understanding of where the law comes from and how to use it.
The second part covers 'Academic Legal Skills' and provides advice on general study and writing skills. This part also includes a section on referencing and avoiding plagiarism amongst a number of other chapters designed to help students through the different stages of the law degree.
The third and final part is dedicated to 'Practical Legal Skills'; a section designed to help develop transferable skills in areas such as presentations and negotiations that will be highly valued by future employers.
The text contains many useful features designed to support a truly practical and self-reflective approach to legal skills including self-test questions, diagrams and practical activities. Students are given the opportunity to take a 'hands on' approach to tackling a variety of legal skills from using cases to negotiation. Each skill is firmly set in its wider academic and professional context to encourage an integrated approach to the learning of legal skills.

Online resources :

  • For lecturers, a bank of multiple choice questions and diagrams from the book
  • For students, answers to the self-test questions and practical exercises from the book and a glossary of all the keywords and terms used within the text. There is also an extensive range of videos with guidance on topics from what to expect from lectures and tutorials, how to research for essays and structure problem questions, to examples of good and bad practice in mooting and negotiations.


PART I: Getting Started: Sources of Law
1: Getting started
2: Legislation
3: Finding legislation
4: Using legislation
5: Case law
6: Finding cases
7: Using cases
8: Books, journals, and official publications
9: Finding books, journals, and official publications
PART II: Academic Legal Skills
10: Study skills
11: Writing skills
12: Legal reasoning and ethics
13: Referencing and avoiding plagiarism
14: Essay writing
15: Answering problem questions
16: Revision and examination skills
17: Dissertations
PART III: Practical Legal Skills
18: Presentation skills
19: Mooting skills
20: Negotiation skills


Emily Finch is an experienced law lecturer and has taught criminal law, criminal evidence and cybercrime at a number of institutions. Her overarching research interest is in public perceptions of crime and criminality and the impact of technology on criminal activity, especially the criminogenic potential of the internet. She has a particular interest in jury decision-making and has conducted a number of empirical studies that explore factors that influence jury verdicts in rape, theft and fraud trials. Her current research focus is on dishonesty and the niche vulnerability of older internet users.
Stefan Fafinski has extensive experience in teaching intellectual property law, cyberlaw, and cybercrime. He is interested in the social and legal factors that influence information security and the security challenges presented by networked technologies in general. He is currently a member of the Parole Board for England and Wales.