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80 U. Det. Mercy L. Rev. 501 (2002-2003)
The Importance of IRAC and Legal Writing

handle is hein.journals/udetmr80 and id is 521 raw text is: The Importance of IRAC and
Legal Writing
JEFFREY METZLER*
While working for an appellate judge, I have more than once
written in a bench memo, It's not entirely clear what the Appellant's
argument is on this issue, but one possibility is .... This is typically
not a good sign for the Appellant's chances of winning (or the
Appellee's, if it is the Appellee whose argument is unclear), and it is a
sure sign of a poorly written brief. In this article, I offer some advice
for law students seeking to avoid submitting a brief, a law school
exam, or a bar exam essay that leaves the reader baffled as to the
content of the argument. However, as a recent law school graduate
myself, I do not profess to have developed any secret techniques for
legal writing that are guaranteed to improve your arguments. But I
have developed an increased appreciation for the importance of
practicing the widely taught legal writing technique known as IRAC.
On a basic level, IRAC is simply an acronym for organizing a
legal argument that involves a description of the Issue;, an explanation
of the legal Rule an Application of that rule to the facts of the case;
and finally, a statement of your Conclusion. And while there is some
value to IRAC as merely an organizational tool, I would like to
impress upon students intending to practice law, especially litigation,
that IRAC is much more than an organizational structure. IRAC is an
important mental exercise that forces an author to a deeper
understanding of the legal issues at stake. Understanding IRAC is
indispensable for sifting through hundreds of cases to find the one
that most helps your case. IRAC is the key to success on law school
exams, the bar exam, and a successful career in litigation.
In my experience, using the IRAC technique in legal writing has
helped me immensely to bring issues into focus. Many cases and law
school exams present situations that we have intuitive feelings about.
However, these gut feelings will not carry a lawyer very far in court
(I suspect that very few judges have been swayed by a defense attorney
 Jeffrey Metzler received his B.A. from Brown University in 1995, his M.A. in
Public Administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public
Affairs in 1999, and hisJ.D. from Yale Law School in 2002. He taught high school for
two years in the New York City public school system (1995-97), clerked for one year
with Judge Diana Gribbon Motz in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
(2002-03), and is currently an Assistant Attorney General in the New York State
Office of the Attorney General.

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