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Chapter

This chapter presents techniques and tips for identifying and discussing the rules, the second step in the IRAC method of legal essay writing. Many students worry that they will not know enough ‘law’ to do well on their exams and essays, but this chapter provides key tips on how to maximise the effectiveness of each student’s knowledge. The discussion identifies the steps involved in writing a first-class essay in law: the purpose of supporting authority (‘rules’) in legal writing; what constitutes supporting authority in legal writing; how to compile the relevant supporting legal authority; and how to communicate the relevant supporting authority in the essay. Writing tips are provided throughout the chapter. A worked example is also given.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the first step in the IRAC method of legal essay writing: namely, the identification of the major issue and the specific sub-issues that are in contention. It offers suggestions meant to help law students learn how to identify what question the examiners want them to answer, as well as how to write a two to three-sentence opening paragraph in approximately one minute. The chapter first considers the relationship of the IRAC method to legal practice before explaining in detail what an ‘issue’ is according to the IRAC methodology; why it is important to identify the issue explicitly in a legal essay or exam; and how to spot the major issues and the contentious sub-issues that arise out of a problem question. Examples of issue spotting are given. Writing tips are provided throughout the chapter.

Chapter

This chapter explains how the IRAC method of legal essay writing can be adapted for professional practice, with particular reference to drafting original documents (letters, attendance notes, memoranda, briefs (instructions) and opinions) that do not rely on precedents. While the discussion does not go into the same amount of detail as a professional legal training course, it does outline the forms of documents that every law student will encounter in legal practice and demonstrate how the IRAC method can be used to create those types of documents. The chapter also provides a brief overview of various formatting issues that may arise in professional practice. Writing tips are provided throughout the chapter.

Chapter

This chapter deals with the third step in the IRAC method of legal essay writing: the application of the facts to the rules (legal authorities) presented in the second step of the essay. This technique is very seldom addressed in class discussions, and many students can become overwhelmed when seeking to undertake this element of the exam- and essay-writing process. The discussion explains what ‘application’ means under the IRAC system; the need for an application process in legal writing; how to distinguish ‘application’ from the ‘rules’ in IRAC methodology; and various stylistic and practical issues concerning the application of the facts to the rules. Writing tips are provided throughout the chapter. A worked example is also presented.

Chapter

This chapter presents eight legal essays written by law students, six in response to problem questions and two in response to ‘discuss’ questions. The first essay is a first-class example of how the IRAC method of legal writing can work in practice; the second, third and fourth essays deal with contract; the next three are tort questions; and the last essay relates to a jurisprudence ‘discuss’ question. Each essay is followed by general comments and a class mark. A partial sample from a first-class essay in tort appears before the essays, which the student can use to improve their individual writing style.

Chapter

This chapter introduces law students to writing law essays and sitting exams, firstly by explaining why there is a need for a special approach to law essays and exams. It then outlines the hallmarks of a good essay in law, from paying close attention to the question as it is asked, to excellent use of supporting information and ideas. It also describes the four-step IRAC method of legal analysis and writing that provides a practical and proven method of answering law school essay and examination questions: identification of the issues relevant to the question; presentation of the applicable rules; application of the facts to the legal authority presented in the second step; and identification of the conclusion of the argument.

Chapter

This chapter explains how the IRAC method of legal essay writing can be adapted for use with ‘discuss’ type questions, focusing on the following topics: what a ‘discuss’ question is asking you to do; how to structure the ‘discuss’ essay; and how to adapt each of the four IRAC steps (issue, rule, application, conclusion) to ‘discuss’ questions. The discussion also identifies the three basic types of ‘discuss’ questions (legal theory, legal reform and legal history) and describes the best way to approach each particular category of questions and the best types of legal authorities to introduce to do well. Tips on writing legal essays and exams are given.