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Law School Writing Center

CREAC

Conclusion

Rule - Anticipate crafting a multi-layer rule, where the top layer is the most general, followed by increasingly specific layers. For example, the top layer might come from statutory text, while additional layers may provide interpretations of this text offered by courts that have been called on to apply the statutory text. Citing separate authorities for different layers likely will be necessary. Avoid using string citations. Providing explanatory parentheticals can be helpful in this section: (1) explanatory parentheticals can help the reader understand the focus of each authority before you have the opportunity to present full case illustrations, and (2) some authorities will be useful only as sources for rules but will not be appropriate targets for detailed case illustrations.

Explanation - Organize by rule, not by case. You may need to discuss the same authority in multiple paragraphs, as a single authority might contain information relevant to multiple components of the rule. Clear topic sentences should introduce a distinct topic for each paragraph; excessive overlap indicates the need for revision. Case illustrations show the reader how the rule has been used in past instances. A strong case illustration includes the key facts, the holding, and the court’s reasoning; remember that your reader has not read the authority you are describing and should not need to do so to understand your writing. Focus on the facts relevant to the aspect of the rule that is being explained in the paragraph; some facts from the authority will not be relevant at all, while other facts will be relevant to aspects of the rule that are explained in other paragraphs. Your client’s facts should not appear in this section.

Application - Using fact-to-fact comparisons, analogize and distinguish.

Conclusion