Law Students’ Obsession with Assigned Word Limits Uncovered

Student Contribution: Maggie Robinson


What is the one thing law students are taught to never, ever disrespect?

Our lecturers? Our universities? Academic integrity? High Court judgments? Senior Counsel? Judges? Well according to students, the answer is actually – assigned word limits.

An Arts tutor commented “every trimester at least a quarter of questions I receive about any assignment are if there’s a 10% leniency and it's always the law students. I told one law student I rarely even look at the word count when I’m marking, she genuinely looked at me like I’d just murdered her dog.”

Last trimester, our correspondents managed to catch a real life law student meltdown on Level 7 of the Deakin Law Building. Jason Syracuse was catatonically staring over Deakin’s campus while he explained, “I just completed my whole 2,000 word paper, worth 50% of my grade. It took so long to finish, I’m like two weeks behind in all my units now.” He gave a long sigh before continuing, “Then, 10 minutes ago. I was just about to finally submit it when I decided to have one last read of the assignment instructions, just to make sure I had the right fonts and stuff. At that point I still had 20 minutes till it was due.”



He then began to sob, “I don’t know how I missed it, but the instructions say ‘FOOTNOTES ARE TO BE INCLUDED IN THE WORD COUNT’.” Before our correspondents could gather any more information, the inconsolable Jason made a dash to the elevators and could not be located thereafter.

In a follow up with Student Central this trimester, there no longer appears to be any Jason Syracuse enrolled in Deakin Law School.