The Paradigm for Predictive Legal Writing: IRAC Method

4783 Words Jun 26th, 2012 20 Pages
Research, Writing & Advocacy 2006-07


I. INTRODUCTION This handout sets out the basic paradigm, or organizational structure, of predictive legal analysis, referred to throughout this course as “IRAC.”1 IRAC is a general analytical paradigm; as you gain experience in your legal writing, you will be able to modify this paradigm to fit a particular legal issue. Once you understand the IRAC structure and are able to use it fluently, you can decide when it might be appropriate to modify the IRAC paradigm in a particular situation. Understand that an IRAC is not a stand alone legal document. The IRAC analysis is part of the discussion section of an office memorandum. You will learn how to
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This option may, in fact, be more helpful to your reader. The following are examples of topic sentences identifying the issue under analysis in the form of a conclusion: Green had neither actual nor constructive notice of Brown’s problem because Brown never spoke with Green or an agent of Green but merely left a message on Green’s answering machine. The second factor, which examines family and business ties to a jurisdiction, probably undercuts Doe’s claim to being domiciled in Arkansas, because Doe’s family, friends, and job prospects remain in Mississippi. Note that, even in the form of a conclusion, the topic sentence still clearly alerts the reader to the issue under discussion and advances the facts relevant to the determination of that issue. B. RULE (Rule Statement and Rule Explanation) Next, you must discuss the law that defines or governs the issue. A complete discussion of the rule requires a statement of the rule of law on the particular issue under discussion and a detailed explanation of the rule from precedent cases. Statement of the Rule The statement of the rule governing the issue places the rest of the analysis in context for the reader. You will rely on this statement of the rule to reach your conclusion. In many instances, you will need to synthesize a rule of law from two or more cases. Often rules are not explicitly stated in any one of the relevant cases. The writer must formulate a general principle

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