Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - International Dispute Resolution

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Faculty of Law | International Dispute Resolution | Alicja Zielinska-Eisen (LL.M.), Aina Hannisa (LL.M.) and Dr. Peter McColgan on Academic Writing, October-February 2021/2022

Alicja Zielinska-Eisen (LL.M.), Aina Hannisa (LL.M.) and Dr. Peter McColgan on Academic Writing, October-February 2021/2022

During the first semester of the International Dispute Resolution (IDR) LL.M. at Humboldt University of Berlin, one of the mandatory modules that we were required to take was the “Introduction to Academic Writing and Case-Solving Methods” module.
Gaining academic knowledge alone is not enough to complete tjhis LLM. Applying this academic knowledge in a methodological manner to solve a legal case was important to successfully pass the exams. As per the requirements to fulfill the LLM, each student was required to write a Master's thesis, and to solve the exam questions in the particular manner necessary.

The course was delivered by Alicja Zielinski Eisen, Peter McColgan, and Aina Hannisa . The aim of the course was to teach us how to solve the exams following the “Gutachtensil”, which is the German analytical, reasoning and writing technique for legal cases.
The first session was a general explanation of this method. In the following subsequent sessions, we were given cases to study and prepare at home, which we then solved together with the learning approach also trained us to solve the cases according to the Gutachtensil which made it easier and faster for us to solve the exam cases.
In the last session, we had a mock exam in a similar environment to the exam after which we were provided with a grade, feedback and comments. This mock exam was of great benefit, for us in our exam preparation, because it introduced us to the time pressure of the exams, and showed us if we were well prepared. It also helped us to identify our strengths, our weakness, and how to improve them before the final exams.

Moreover, we were instructed on how to write our Master's Thesis. The class was mainly about how to conduct research, as well as covering the technical requirements for writing a thesis and how to approach a potential supervisor. In addition, Alicja Zielinska-Eisen gave us some insider tips in writing a good thesis and earning the highest grade!

Finally, as part of the module, we had a series of workshop style lectures with Aina Hannisa on how to give a presentation and present legal arguments well in an oral exam.

Rafic El Hassan, IDR LL.M. Candidate