Introduction to Chapters 1-3 – Organization and Reasoning

Introduction to Chapters 1-3

Chapters 1-3 focus on THE effective organization of legal analysis and argument, which is essential to effective legal writing. As a 1L, you probably learned that the analysis or argument of a single issue follows an organizational form called CREAC, IRAC or something similar. Whatever acronym you learned, the structure is the same. The only difference might be the terms you used.

You probably also learned to include both rule-based reasoning (the application of a single rule to facts) and reasoning by analogy (since two situations are parallel, the first should yield the same outcome as the second) in your CREAC. As a result, you might have a hard time distinguishing legal analysis based on the application of a rule to a set of facts and those based on reasoning by analogy. The result is analysis or argument that is incomplete and poorly organized.

It is important to understand that analysis and argument based on rule application, and those based on analogy are separate and distinct, even though you may have learned about them together as components of CREAC, IRAC or something similar. So, Chapter 1 is solely about how to write an analysis or argument based rule-based reasoning, and Chapter 2 is solely about how to write analysis or argument reasoning by analogy.

As explained in Chapter 1, except for purely legal analysis or argument such as the meaning of a rule, every objective analysis and argument is rule-based, that is the application of a rule to facts. So, when analyzing a legal issue or making a legal argument, you must apply the rule that governs to the relevant facts.

In contrast, as explained in Chapter 2, legal analysis and argument based on reasoning by analogy is usually, but not always necessary. When legal writers forget this and rely solely on analogies rather than rule application the resulting product is an unfocused series of case illustrations, which are of little or no use.

Chapter 3 is about umbrella paragraphs, which organize single legal issues analysis and arguments that are divided into sub-parts. Add an umbrella paragraph or paragraphs to introduce your reader to any analysis or argument that is divided into sub-points.

Chapters 1-3 apply to both objective analysis and legal argument because the organization of a legal issue is essentially the same, whether it be objective analysis or argument.