PA205 Yelin 6th Ed Ch22 Essay

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C H A P T E R

22

THE IRAC
METHOD

A. PURPOSES OF IRAC
B. IRAC COMPONENTS
1. Issues
2. Rules of Law
3. Application of the Law to the Problem’s Facts
4. Conclusion

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CHAPTER OVERVIEW
The IRAC chapter focuses on the writing style used for the discussion portion of the memo. IRAC is an acronym for Issue, Rule, Application,
Conclusion. These are the building blocks of a memo’s discussion. You will learn to identify issues and applicable legal authority. You will also learn how to extract the legally significant facts and apply them to the relevant law to draw substantiated conclusions. You will learn to identify effective IRAC use by dissecting discussions and labeling the IRAC components, and you will learn to draft IRAC sequences as well.

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446 CHAPTER 22 / THE IRAC METHOD

A. PURPOSES OF IRAC
! What Is IRAC?
IRAC stands for Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion. IRAC is the architectural blueprint for the discussion portion of a legal memo. It gives legal writing continuity and clarity and organizes the contents of the discussion. IRAC provides legal support and analysis for the issues posed by the problem and guides the writer toward a well-supported conclusion. IRAC benefits both the writer and the reader because the components are essentially a checklist designed to ensure that the discussion is analytically well thought-out and that it contains the necessary legal authority. IRAC is very important because it lets the reader see the particular legal point being addressed, the relevant legal rule, the application of the law to the facts, and the conclusion. It is formula writing in the same way that formula movie romances, westerns, and thrillers are.
The predictability of the IRAC format enables the reader to obtain the information quickly.

The CUNY Law School Writing Center Web site has handouts on using the
IRAC format at www.law.cuny.edu/wc. Click ‘‘For Students.’’ Then click the ‘‘Resources on Specific Writing topics’’ link and then the ‘‘IRAC’’ link.

B. IRAC COMPONENTS
Each IRAC sequence is composed of an issue, which is really a legal element or component; the legal rule or holding from a case or statutory authority; the application, which is a demonstration of how the legal authority applies to the problem that you are writing about; and the conclusion, the final assessment of how the rule applies to the facts of your problem.
! What Does an IRAC Paragraph Look Like?
This fact pattern forms the basis of the IRAC paragraph example.
On August 7, 2011, Ms. Howard went to Rough & Tough Pawn Shop in
Chicago to obtain a loan using a diamond ring as collateral. Rough &
Tough loaned Ms. Howard $800, and she agreed to pay $75 per month for a total of 13-1/2 months. Ms. Howard knew that she would have to pay

B. IRAC COMPONENTS

off the balance of $1,025 in 12 months because at that time Rough &
Tough would have the right to sell the ring. On September 11, 2011,
Ms. Howard received a postcard from Rough & Tough stating that it was selling the shop and all of its assets to Able Pawn. Mr. Sam Able would assume the business of Rough & Tough, including all pawned items and outstanding loans. On the bottom of the postcard was a notice stating; ‘‘If you want your item, please pick it up by September 29, 2011, and pay off your note by September 29, 2011. Because Ms. Howard did not have the money to pay off the note, she decided to pay Able Pawn the
$75 per month once the loan was transferred in the sale. In October 2011,
Able Pawn was robbed and all the jewelry, including Ms. Howard’s ring, was stolen. Able Pawn had a security alarm system and a guard dog to protect the property, but the robbers were able to circumvent these obstacles. We will work through the following sample IRAC paragraph, based on the Howard fact pattern, and its components to illustrate how to draft an IRAC paragraph.
(I) Whether a bailment for the mutual benefit of Rough & Tough and
Howard existed. (R) A pawn is a form of…