Deductive reasoning and irac


Published on

Published in: Education, News & Politics
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Deductive reasoning and irac

  1. 1. Writing for the Legal Reader: Legal Proofs and Deductive Reasoning © Prof. Mathis Rutledge
  2. 2. <ul><li>Last week: case comparisons, synthesis </li></ul><ul><li>This week: IRAC and CREAC (legal proofs) </li></ul><ul><li>Drafting the discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion section where pieces come together </li></ul>
  3. 3. Social Host Liability <ul><li>A social host is liable when the host serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated adult, and the person injures a third party in a reasonably foreseeable manner or when the host serves alcohol to a minor with knowledge that the minor will drive. </li></ul><ul><li>A tavern owner is liable to an injured third party when he serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated adult or someone the host knows is a minor. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Consider the Sandwich ₁ <ul><li>People know what a sandwich is. </li></ul><ul><li>People have specific expectations of a sandwich. </li></ul><ul><li>When those expectations aren’t met, the recipient is left confused, or worse, irritated. </li></ul>Sandwich example and clip art adapted with permission from Professor Tracy McGaugh presentation on Organizing the Analysis, 2002-03.
  5. 5. For example . . . <ul><li>If someone tells you that he’s going to bring you a sandwich, and he brings you . . . </li></ul>
  6. 6. this . . . <ul><li>“ Hey, I still have to put that together!” </li></ul>
  7. 7. . . . or this . . . <ul><li>“ That’s useless to me.” </li></ul>
  8. 8. . . . or this . . . <ul><li>“ Holy moly! That’s my sandwich?!” </li></ul>
  9. 9. . . . you’re going to be confused and a little irritated because you thought you were getting this: <ul><li>“ Now that’s a sandwich.” </li></ul>
  10. 10. The same is true for legal writing <ul><li>It’s not enough to have all the parts there </li></ul><ul><li>Legal writing has a certain structure </li></ul><ul><li>Legal readers expect to receive information within a certain order </li></ul><ul><li>When you fail to meet those expectations, the reader will be left not only confused, but will doubt your abilities </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Legal Memorandum <ul><li>Has a standard format </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Memorandum <ul><li>To </li></ul><ul><li>From </li></ul><ul><li>Re </li></ul><ul><li>Question Presented </li></ul><ul><li>Brief Answer </li></ul><ul><li>Statement of Facts </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul>
  13. 13. Sample Memos <ul><li>Notice 6 parts </li></ul><ul><li>Address </li></ul><ul><li>Question Presented </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify specific legal issues </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Brief Answer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brief conclusion to the legal issues </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Statement of Facts </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis, Rules of Law </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Discussion <ul><li>Largest part of the memo </li></ul><ul><li>Introduce the issue (thesis paragraph) </li></ul><ul><li>Explain the law (synthesized rule; factors) </li></ul><ul><li>Apply the law (case comparisons) </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion (prediction) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Start from the Beginning <ul><li>Thesis Paragraph </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduces the subject to the reader </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Puts things in context for the reader </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explains the purpose of the memo or section </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduces the issues and the order </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>States your conclusion and brief reason </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Thesis Statements <ul><li>Every issue should begin with a thesis statement </li></ul><ul><li>Statement about the issue & your conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Follow the statement by an identification of the factors </li></ul>
  17. 17. Examples of Thesis sentences <ul><li>The Stripes’ garage is a living quarters in which Michael Stripe “actually resides.” When determining whether a structure is a living quarters, courts evaluate the type of activities for which the owners use the structure, as well as the frequency of those activities and physical evidence of those activities. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Textbook, appendix A pp. 524-25 </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Example thesis sentences <ul><li>The circumstances of Ms. Lush’s case prove that she was in physical control of her vehicle after she pulled off the road. The courts determine physical control by factors such as the “actual or constructive possession” of the car keys, and the defendant’s posture in the seat. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From sample memo packet, student sample p. 3 </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Analysis is expected to be in a certain format as well </li></ul>
  20. 20. The Process of Legal Analysis <ul><li>Is there a relevant statute? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Locate cases that have further defined the elements in the statute </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have the cases created additional sub-issues? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Find the general rule – usually through synthesis (inductive reasoning – looking at specific cases to articulate a general proposition of law) </li></ul><ul><li>Identify the Issues based on the determinative facts </li></ul><ul><li>Now you’re ready for Legal Analysis </li></ul>
  21. 21. Legal Analysis <ul><li>Lawyers write in Legal Proofs </li></ul><ul><li>Based on Deductive Reasoning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Going from the general to the specific </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Deductive Analysis <ul><li>Involves going from the general to the specific </li></ul><ul><ul><li>General rule of law to specific facts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Begin – rule of law and your conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis – discuss the element at issue and give a detailed evaluation of the law </li></ul><ul><li>Explain how the law applies to your client </li></ul>
  23. 23. Example <ul><li>P. 3 sample memo </li></ul><ul><li>Thesis paragraph (1 st full paragraph) – rule of law & conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis (rule explanation)- Transition sentence that identifies issue - possession; describes precedent; </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis (rule application) shows why the case is precedent and how it applies to the client </li></ul>
  24. 24. Deductive Writing Pattern – Overview Paragraph –CR Outline rule of law, identify issue Thesis paragraph – for each issue Summarize both the issue & analysis CR Explanation-explain rule of law Factors, holding, etc. Analysis/Application – Apply rule to client & evaluate opposing arguments Conclusion
  25. 25. Legal Proofs <ul><li>Pattern </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Justify your conclusion through the organization of your analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Based on Deductive Analytical Pattern </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Progresses from broad conclusion to specific illustration of why conclusion is sound </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. What is IRAC? What about CREAC? <ul><li>Acronym </li></ul><ul><li>Most common legal proof </li></ul><ul><li>Gives a pattern for structuring and organizing legal analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Helpful in drafting legal memoranda, briefs, exam answers </li></ul>
  27. 27. IRAC <ul><li>Don’t think in terms of sentences but </li></ul><ul><li>Sections in your memo (paragraphs) </li></ul><ul><li>IRAC each disputed issue </li></ul>
  28. 28. I - IRAC <ul><li>I ssue – identifying the issue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Should be narrowly framed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Present in a focused precise topic sentence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Question how/whether the law applies to your client </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use the elements & facts to define </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Issue <ul><li>Identifies specific problem </li></ul><ul><li>Sets out the dispute between the parties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Include client facts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Written in terms of relevant law and facts of the situation </li></ul>
  30. 30. Issue must be defined narrowly <ul><li>If you state the issue as a broad question the corresponding rule will be unfocused, and your analysis will be very general. </li></ul><ul><li>Ex: Does Smith have a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress [ too broad ] </li></ul><ul><li>When an issue is narrowly-framed it results in a more focused analysis. </li></ul><ul><li>Narrow Legal Issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Did Smith have a sensory and contemporaneous observation of the accident </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Did Smith suffer emotional distress as a result </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. R- IRAC <ul><li>R ule </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Expressly stated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Synthesized from holdings in several cases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write a precise rule statement for every legal issue </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Rule <ul><li>Give the pertinent facts of the precedent </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal readers need context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shows relevance to the facts for independent comparison </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Include the reasoning </li></ul><ul><li>If statutory rule, use the precise language </li></ul>
  33. 33. A- IRAC <ul><li>A nalysis/Application </li></ul><ul><ul><li>( 2 parts explain & apply ) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Support/validate the rule </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quote or explain the rule </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Describe facts/holding/reasoning in the multiple cases </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Apply the rule – has it been satisfied </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it supported by the case comparisons (based on stare decisis) </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. Part I of Analysis: Explanation/Rule Support <ul><li>Shows that rule has legal basis </li></ul><ul><li>Can be simply explaining the rule and giving a cite </li></ul><ul><li>If synthesized rule, show correct synthesis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>describe holding, reasoning, essential facts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>identify factors </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. E xplanation or Support for the Rule <ul><li>Purpose: give the reader information to understand the rule application </li></ul><ul><li>To understand how the rule applies to your facts, the reader must understand how the rule has applied to similar facts </li></ul><ul><li>Explain rule’s purpose, policies, past application </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not mean everything about the rule, limit explanation to information pertaining to client </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Explain <ul><li>When describing precedent you must identify </li></ul><ul><li>1. the holding </li></ul><ul><li>2. all the facts necessary to the court’s decision in a logical way that tells the story </li></ul><ul><li>3. the court’s reasoning </li></ul><ul><li>A bare bones holding is insufficient because it lacks the specific essential facts to allow the reader to make her own analysis </li></ul>
  37. 37. Example: barebones rule explanation <ul><li>The Michigan Court of Appeals held that a surrogate parentage contract is void and unenforceable if the surrogate receives compensation for the termination of parental rights ( Doe v. Attorney General ). This decision protects the natural rights of the birth mother and protects public policy issues of turning babies into commodities to be bought and sold </li></ul>
  38. 38. Part II of Analysis: Application <ul><li>Apply each point from the rule explanation </li></ul><ul><li>Compare cases and explain how similarities or differences explain your point </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Explain why the analogies & distinctions are significant </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use descriptive facts, not conclusions when applying the law to facts </li></ul><ul><li>Identify unknown facts that would be important to resolution </li></ul><ul><li>Include opposing arguments </li></ul>
  39. 39. Analysis/Application <ul><li>Important considerations </li></ul><ul><li>Write for the uninformed reader </li></ul><ul><ul><li>is the rule met </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>use the language of the rule </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>don’t forget underlying purpose - stare decisis & precedent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are the statements supported by case comparisons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>case comparisons must be based on essential facts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Is the reasoning behind the rule appropriate for client’s case </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Compare and contrast the facts of the case to the client’s case </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  40. 40. Application & the syllogism <ul><li>Syllogism – logical argument where conclusion is inferred from 2 premises </li></ul><ul><li>Underlying syllogism pattern </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Major premise + Minor premise = conclusion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Major premise – All men are mortal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minor premise – Socrates is a man </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conclusion – Therefore, Socrates is mortal </li></ul></ul>
  41. 41. Compare to IRAC <ul><li>A rule (major premise) is applied to a specific fact situation (minor premise) to reach a conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Major premise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A social host who serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person is liable for the injuries that visible intoxicated person causes. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Minor premise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Johnny Mitchell is a social host who served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person who later caused injuries to another </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Johnny Mitchell is liable for the injuries caused by that visibly intoxicated person. </li></ul></ul>
  42. 42. C- IRAC <ul><li>C onclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Beginning & End of the legal proof </li></ul><ul><li>Predicts the outcome </li></ul><ul><li>Tie the points together based on law and facts. </li></ul><ul><li>Short, but important. </li></ul>
  43. 43. IRAC in exam writing <ul><li>Issue - identify the issue – issue spotting </li></ul><ul><li>Rule - state the rule of law </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis - apply the law to the facts (case comparisons) </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion - state your conclusion, does the rule apply to your fact situation </li></ul>
  44. 44. IRAC in Legal Writing <ul><li>State your conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Issue – identify the issue to be analyzed </li></ul><ul><li>Rule – state the applicable rule </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rule Support – Validate the rule by citing and discussing the cases you relied upon </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Analysis – apply the rule to the facts of your case </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Case Comparison – Validate analysis by showing that your case is analogous to the rule cases or distinguishable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conclusion – predict how a court will resolve the issue </li></ul>
  45. 45. IRAC Example Back of Notes Page
  46. 46. CREAC – an improved IRAC <ul><li>Conclusion – state your conclusion about the issue </li></ul><ul><li>Rule – state the applicable rule of law </li></ul><ul><li>Explanation – Explain the rule </li></ul><ul><li>Application – Apply the rule to client’s facts </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion – Restate your conclusion </li></ul>
  47. 47. IRAC vs. CREAC <ul><li>I ssue </li></ul><ul><li>R ule </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rule Support </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A pplication/Analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Case Comparison </li></ul></ul><ul><li>C onclusion </li></ul><ul><li>C onclusion </li></ul><ul><li>R ule </li></ul><ul><li>E xplanation </li></ul><ul><li>A pplication/Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>C onclusion </li></ul>Legal Proof Alphabet
  48. 48. Starting with the end – Conclusion <ul><li>Legal readers are impatient, want the bottom line </li></ul><ul><li>Starting with the conclusion puts the analysis into context </li></ul><ul><li>You can rephrase the conclusion and use it as a section heading </li></ul><ul><li>Will help you draft thesis & overview paragraph </li></ul>
  49. 49. C onclusion/ I ssue <ul><li>Conclusion and issue are combined and found in Overview or thesis paragraphs </li></ul><ul><li>To find the issue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>find cases, group of cases or statutes that sets forth the elements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>use elements to identify the issues </li></ul></ul>
  50. 50. Putting it Together <ul><li>Legal Proofs are in the discussion section of the memo </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion and Rule should be in the thesis and overview (umbrella) paragraphs </li></ul><ul><li>Followed by Explanation and Analysis </li></ul>