The organisation of ideas is perhaps

IRACThe organisation of ideas is perhaps the most difficult of tasks to accomplish. To communicate analysiseffectively, a business law writer must provide, step-by-step, the legal foundation for her conclusions.The IRAC format can help a writer to accomplish these goals.I Issue.Think of this step as the context before the details. Before the reader can understand what thewriters analysis is, he must understand what problem or question the writer is trying to resolve.R Rule.This component really has two separate elements: R for rule, and I for case illustration. The writerstates the legal rule that will resolve the question. If more than one rule applies to a discussion of agiven issue, organise those rules according to an analytical hierarchy.Always address the broadest, or most general rule, first, and work through to the more specific rules.Cite to authority after the rule. Then, to help the reader, understand the significance of the legal rule,or how courts have applied that rule to facts in the past, the writer illustrates one or more prior judicialdecisions. The writer can then use those prior decisions as comparisons with the clients situation. Tobe useful, a case illustration must include a topic sentencecontext always comes before details; allthe facts that determined the courts decision; the courts holding; and the courts reasoning for itsholding. Avoid a mini-case brief by focusing on the legal issue, rather than on an overall descriptionof the case.A Application.The writer applies the law to the facts of the clients case. The application portion of the analysis isthe most important component of legal analysis: the writer uses the legal foundation he has providedto explain how and why the law will impact the client. It is here that the writer analogises the clientsfacts to, or distinguishes them from, the facts that served as the basis for the prior decisions; thiscomparison becomes the basis on which the writer predicts or persuades the reader as to the likelyoutcome of the clients situation. Application is the place in the analysis in which the abstract lawtranslates into an outcome. Often, however, it is the most neglected step in the legal analysis. Do notassume that if a writer states the rules and identifies the client facts, then the intelligent reader willjump to the right conclusion. She will not do that mental work herself. Carefully and comprehensivelyexplain how a court will likely see those rules considering each relevant client fact.C Conclusion.Once the writer has applied each relevant rule to each outcome-determinative fact, he summariseshis position in a concluding sentence. Each issue and sub-issue should have its own conclusion. Theseconclusions help the reader make the most efficient use of the information the writer has presented.To be effective, a conclusion should state what a court is likelyor unlikelyto conclude about theclients facts. Organise each issue and sub-issue along the IRAC format. IRAC helps new legal writersensure that all the components necessary for sound legal analysis are present and communicated inthe most effective manner. This format may seem stilted and artificial at first, but young lawyersquickly learn that legal readers expect to receive information in this order and that providing theirreaders with what those readers expect greatly benefits the writer.Clarity of ExpressionEveryone enters business law school with a perception of how lawyers sound. Grand, flowerypronouncements with a smattering of secret code words known as legalese spring to mind. The lasttwenty years, however, have witnessed a recognition among the legal community that the purpose oflegal writing is to communicate, not to mystify or bedazzle. The emphasis on plain English in legalwriting stresses a clear, concise, direct manner of expression. The legal writing texts offer exercisesthat will help writers hone these skills

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