One common mistake of new law students is conclusory argumentation, as discussed in this post on avoiding “Monty Python” argumentation. Another common mistake is incomplete analysis. An essay answer might include analysis that scratches the surface but doesn’t explore deeper. But it’s crucial to consider the strengths and weaknesses of any argument, and to explore valid counter-arguments.
Failure to consider and address valid counter-arguments may leave an essay answer on thin ice, as illustrated by Bruce Wayne in the movie Batman Begins. Below is a video showing Wayne (pre-Batman) being trained in combat by Henri Ducard, who later turns out to be the villain Ra’s al Ghul. Ducard/Ghul reminds Wayne to “always mind your surroundings.” But Wayne, hoping for a quick and easy win, ignores the fragile ice below his feet, leading to an equally quick and humbling defeat. At about 1:00 into the video the battle reaches its climax:
Ducard/Ghul: You haven’t beaten me. You’ve sacrificed sure footing for a killing stroke.