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TIP 11: Legal Analysis – How to Apply the Law!

Applying the law well is actually quite straightforward. “Legal analysis” requires you to apply the relevant law succinctly to the fact pattern.

One of the keys to writing well is to state each principle of law in your long outlines in short sentences. Ideally, each rule is stated in a complete sentence of fifteen words or less.

Then, when it comes to applying the law, there are really only three sentence patterns that you can use to apply the law. Examples of the three sentence patterns are below.

Sentence Pattern 1

State the critical facts at the beginning of the sentence, and then fully state the rule of law that you are applying.

For example, if the rule stated in your long outline is that battery occurs when a defendant’s intentional act causes a harmful or offensive touching with plaintiff’s person, then you might apply the law as follows.

Since David intentionally slugged Paul, he may be found liable for battery because his intentional act caused a harmful and offensive touching, given Paul’s arm was broken.

Sentence Pattern 2

State the rule of law first, then bring the critical facts to the end of the sentence.

Since a battery occurs if a defendant’s intentional act causes a harmful or offensive touching with the plaintiff’s person, here David may be found liable for battery because his intentional act of slugging Paul caused a harmful and offensive touching, the breaking of Paul’s arm.

Sentence Pattern 3

Sentence pattern three is more difficult to use. You must know the rule well. First, repeat the rule of law to yourself. Then while applying the rule, integrate the critical facts into the statement of the law.

For example, since David’s intentional act of slugging Paul caused a harmful and offensive touching and caused Paul’s arm to be broken, David may be found liable for battery.

When applying the law, the weight of the sentence should be upon restating the rule of law. Then, “bring” the critical facts to the rule. The same is true when it comes to applying relevant policy considerations to a fact pattern.

At The Skillman Method™, we believe all motivated students can EXCEL. Writing practice exams throughout the semester is extremely important for achieving academic success. Meet with your faculty members to get feedback on your practice essays. Bring two copies of your answers to the meetings.

ALL law students can benefit by taking The Basic Exam Course™. The course includes three classes, 1) How to Excel in Law School, 2) How to Outline Law School Courses, and 3) Exam Writing and Legal Analysis. Class 3 gives students a roadmap for spotting issues and writing excellent essays. The online course is available 24/7 via video streaming. Students who register for the course by October 31 can get a $100 discount by entering the promotional code ABWA.

The Skillman Method™ demystifies law school completely. With the Skillman courses, students learn a step-by-step, sophisticated approach for excelling in law school and on the bar exam.

Great grades in law school translate into bar success, terrific job opportunities, and empowerment. Skillman lawyers have gone on to become top lawyers, tenured law professors, judges, Appellate Court Justices, and public advocates.

Professor Skillman’s study methods courses have been sponsored by at least twenty ABA-accredited law schools, the Council on Legal Education Opportunity Program (CLEO), the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Oregon State Bar, the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association in New York, Practicing Attorneys for Law Students (PALS), and the Oregon State Bar.

The Skillman Method™’s bar preparation course has been sponsored by the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, the Legal Aid Society of New York City, the King’s County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, the Oregon State Bar, and Vanderbilt University Law School, as well as local bar associations.

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Editor-in-Chief, Law Review
Touro Law Center

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