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.
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