Choosing your law dissertation topic is a straight forward process for some students who are lucky enough to have a clear idea of their interests are. If you're not one of the lucky few and have a varied interest in different aspects of the law, then here are a few questions to help you pick an interesting LLM dissertation topic.
1. Why are you doing an LLM in the first place?
Go back to when you were considering applying for an LLM. Why were you doing so and why did you pick this course? Did you want to specialise your career or give it a boost? Get back to these fundamental questions you were pondering a little over a year ago, as it's easy to get bogged down in the hectic day-to-day business of your LLM.
2. Which modules have you enjoyed the most?
It doesn't matter if you are taking a general LLM or a more specialised course there will probably be a module that you have enjoyed the most. Start with this module and the topics covered in it. Go speak with the lecturer or professor who taught the module and discuss it with them. Was there a specific legal issue that you found the most interesting? You'll definitely want your law dissertation to be interesting to you as you are going to spend a great deal of time thinking about it.
3. Which areas of the law have a good support base at your institution?
This is almost certainly one of the reasons you applied to your law school, to begin with. Are there any areas of the law that have more than one expert at your law school? It would be great to have differing opinions available to you to guide you in your research. Have a look at the different student Legal Clinics. Are there any that you have enjoyed assisting with? Perhaps you found a real life legal problem interesting and challenging. If you can read through the dissertations of past students to see if there are any patterns or other questions that the dissertations of past students present to you.
4. What are the strengths of your law library?
Maybe you are guided only by your pure academic interests and want to follow them, but on a practical note think about what the nearest law library to you specialises in. This will follow the interests of the institution, but if there was a course that used to run in the past, the library will probably still have all the relevant books. You'll undoubtedly be very familiar with your library by the time you are contemplating your dissertation topic, but checking to make sure your potential subject has plenty of resources easily available might avoid future heartache.
5. Is your potential topic a wide enough question?
You want a subject that you can get your teeth into so it needs to be a substantial topic that you can add something of relevance. An ancient, narrow and unique legal issue might not be aid your future career, so think about issues that are modern and relevant to the practice of law today. Although, you will also want to avoid the hazards of a fashionable topic that might be discussed in every newspaper today and in a couple of years will have been forgotten. You also have to keep in mind that you want to be able to delve into the depths of this issue within the word count. Confusingly you need a topic that is both wide-ranging enough to provide you with plenty of interesting research, but not so wide that you can never get into the deeper issues in the word count.
Choosing your Law dissertation topic is important as it will form the basis of your future speciality in legal practice and this is the whole reason you undertook an LLM in the first place.