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This article explains how foreign-trained and international graduate students can use a thesis development template to find and articulate narrow, novel, non-obvious, and useful claims for their final, academic papers in law. These students, in particular, are in need of clear direction and methods for crafting well-developed claims (or thesis statements), given that many are non-native speakers of English who trained in different legal and educational systems with different expectations about what constitutes good academic writing—in any genre, let alone law. Through the use of a thesis development template (adapted from writing advice by Joseph M. Williams and Eugene Volokh), students learn to state the thesis in three discrete, interrelated components: condition, cost, and solution. This method works well because it enables students to examine the connections among these three components. It also gives students the freedom and agility they need to incrementally develop from the component on which their thinking is most clear, either by working backward from solution to condition, or through an iterative process that develops all three components through repeated cycles. In the end, the method helps students produce a combined descriptive and prescriptive thesis (both stating a problem and offering a solution)—a particularly satisfying result for academic papers concerning legal issues



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