How To Use The IRAC Method To Answer Legal Questions
One of the most common questions law essay writers get from law students is how to answer problem-style law essay help questions. Problem-solution law questions are often difficult to answer if you don’t know the right method. But if you understand the problem properly and know what method is required to answer the question, then these problem-solution essays can become the easiest for you.
Professors mostly recommend using the IRAC structure to ensure that you cover all bases when answering a legal question. And this method is quite effective for writing problem-solution law essays.
But what is the IRAC method and how you can use it? Rest assured because in this article we’ll explain everything related to the IRAC method. What it is and how you can use it in the most effective manner.
What Is The IRAC Method?
IRAC is an acronym for Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion. It’s a method of organizing legal analysis, used in the context of problem-style questions. It’s also commonly used to structure law essays that are based on problem questions.
Although it is not the only method for answering legal problem questions, it has the advantage of allowing you to divide the questions into four comprehensive sections.
How To Use IRAC Method?
IRAC is a way to approach legal questions by breaking them down into four parts:
- Identify the Issue
- Figure out the rules or principles involved in deciding the legal question
- Identify and analyze relevant facts or applicable law required to resolve the issue (the analysis).
- Conclude what is your answer to the issue identified above.
Now you understand the four key steps of the IRAC method, let’s talk about each one of them in detail:
The first step in answering a legal question is to state the issue. In a legal question, an issue is presented and you have to identify how it should be resolved.
It’s usually stated as a question, like: “Is it unconstitutional for the government to require every citizen to buy health insurance?” If you were asked this question and needed to answer it using IRAC, you would begin by stating:
“The issue, in this case, is whether or not it’s unconstitutional for the government to require every citizen to buy health insurance.”
After you have identified the issue and determined that it’s a legal problem, it’s time to determine which rules apply to that issue. The rule is the law that applies to your specific situation. It should be stated as a general principle of law, or as a legal concept.
For example: If someone has been convicted of murder, they can’t profit from their crime by writing about it. In other words, there is no First Amendment right to make money off of crimes if it also means profiting from another person’s death (or other damages).
It’s the most important and lengthiest part of your answer. The analysis is where you explain how the facts fit into the legal issue and rule.
You also have to write a conclusion at the end of each paragraph in your analysis section. This will help the reader to see how every piece of information connects with one another as well as how it relates to the question or problem (the case) described above.
At this point in IRAC, we need to be specifically focused on what actually happened in the cases so that we can do an adequate job explaining to them while still sticking to the boundaries set by our teacher. Don’t forget to support your arguments with pieces of evidence while writing your analysis.
The conclusion is the last part of IRAC where you give your answer to the legal issue. Until now, you’re adding points, defending arguments with evidence, and carefully examining the issue just to convince the reader of this answer you revealed in the conclusion part.
For writing an effective conclusion, make sure you don’t just repeat the facts. Only add things that support your answer. If you stray from this path, you could end up with a conclusion that is not supported by your facts or rules.
Where Not To Use IRAC?
IRAC is not the only way to answer a legal question. In fact, it can sometimes be a poor method of analysis, and sometimes even counterproductive. There are some questions that simply do not lend themselves well to IRAC. In many cases, these types of questions require you to use your own judgment and experience as a lawyer or law student.
Here are some examples of such questions, try not to use IRAC to answer these types of legal questions:
- A question asking you to assess the constitutionality of a particular law.
- A question asking you to give an example of where judicial activism is good.
- Questions asking you about specific legal principles, such as the rule against perpetuities or due process.
Some Additional Tips For Essay Writing
Here are some additional tips to make your legal essay writing much easier:
- Read the question carefully and make sure you understand it. If you don’t, ask your professor to clarify it for you.
- Break down the facts into relevant issues that need to be addressed in your answer: what happened? who did what? when did they do it? where did they do it? why did they do it?
- Build an argument based on those issues using IRAC format: Issue – Rule – Application – Conclusion
- When using IRAC, don’t bring in new facts, new rules, or anything else that does not relate directly back to supporting your answer for a particular problem/issue or question at hand.
IRAC is a useful tool for answering legal questions. It will also help organize your answer and explain it more clearly. In conclusion, mastering the IRAC method of writing will not only benefit you in your exams but will also help you throughout your professional legal career.