IRAC: The format lawyers use when writing memos for court.
|After the Answer stage of the lawsuit, each party will have an opportunity to file motions and discovery. Generally, the motion is fairly brief, but contains a Memorandum in Support of the Motion, or, when defending against a motion, a Memorandum in Opposition. These memoranda outline the legal argument supporting or opposing the motion (a motion is a request for the court to do something). To be effective, the memoranda must be based on solid legal principles and be supported by the facts. Using the "IRAC" form in writing the memoranda enables the court to follow a legal argument in a manner it is used to seeing.
Law students are taught to write memoranda in the IRAC form from the very first class. IRAC stands for Issue, Rule, Application, and Conclusion. The Issue is a brief statement of the dispute. The Rule is the section that contains any elements or statutory requirements that must be proven, and should be followed by the statute in question or a case from that court's jurisdiction that explains the elements of rule. The Application is how the facts support or oppose the particular Rule elements. This is where the persuasive selling of the argument comes into play. The application part of "IRAC" should start with the word "Here," to tell the court the writer is moving into the application stage. The Conclusion is a brief sentence summing up what was said. Here is an example of a brief IRAC argument:
[ISSUE] The issue is whether Bob recover damages from lender for fraud. [RULE] The elements of fraud in Illinois are 1) Lender made a statement of material fact, 2) the lender knew or believed to be false, 3) the borrower had a right to rely on the statement, 4) the borrower did rely on the statement, 5) the lender intended to induce defendants to rely on the statement, and 6) the borrower was damaged in reliance. Siegel v. Levy Organization Development Co., 153 Ill. 2d 534, 542-43, 180 Ill. Dec. 300, 607 N.E.2d 194 (1992).
[RULE ELEMENT 1] The first element of fraud requires the lender made a statement of material fact. [APPLICATION OF RULE ELEMENT 1] Here, the lender told Bob the loan would be a thirty year fixed rate. (Bob Affidavit, pg. 1) [CONCLUSION OF ELEMENT 1] Thus, the lender made a statement of material fact.
[RULE ELEMENT 2] The second element of fraud requires the lender knew or believed the statement to be false. [APPLICATION OF ELEMENT 2] Here, the paperwork the lender presented to Bob for signing indicated the loan was a two year ARM. As evidenced by the lender's broker, Patty Jones, the lender never intended to provide Bob a thirty year fixed loan. (Patty Jones Affidavit, pg 1.) [CONCLUSION OF ELEMENT 2] Thus, the lender made a statement it knew to be false.
....after each element is discussed in its own paragraph, an overall conclusion is stated at the end...
[CONCLUSION] In conclusion, Bob is entitled to recover damages from the lender for common law fraud.
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