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IRAC is structure that all legal writing follows, so it is clearly understood. IRAC
has four parts: Issue, Rule, Analysis (sometimes called Explanation), and
Conclusion. Using IRAC will help ensure you don’t miss any important parts of
your legal analysis.

State the issue or issues as you see them in the fact pa!ern. These can be in
question or statement form.

Be specific! For example, “What is the cause of action the company can bring
against its competitor for not delivering the product on time as promised?”
The issue may be case specific or more general, like “Does a corporation have
a duty to reject nonconforming goods before accepting them?”

If there is more than one issue, you must separate them. Also, you can create
additional issues for your benefit, so you don’t forget to address them in the
Analysis section. For example, “What is the cause of action the company can
bring against its competitor for not delivering the product on time as
promised?” May then cause you to ask, “What defense or defenses may the
competitor raise for not delivering the product in a timely fashion?”

IRAC Method

1 Issue, Rule, Analysis, and
Conclusion (IRAC)

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The rule is the legal standard or “test” applied to the fact pa!ern. Depending
on the fact pa!ern, the rule may be the elements of the cause of action that

The rule should be stated using the legal terms of art, don’t summarize or
change the verbiage. For example, if you believe the cause of action is
negligence, then the elements which create the legal standard are Duty,
Breach, Causation, and Damages. Then you need to ask if there are smaller
rules within the elements. For example, causation can be “in-fact” or
“proximate.” Those would be the smaller or sub-rules which also need to be

The analysis (which is the explanation) is the most in-depth part of your
writing. It is also the most important part and should be an area you pay
particular a!ention to.

Some people also refer to Analysis/Explanation as the “Application.”

This is where you apply the Rule and Sub-Rules from above to the facts of the
scenario. This is where you explain how you reached your conclusion by
showing how each fact applies to the Rule. It is important always to analyze
both sides of the scenario to present the complete picture. Analyzing both
sides includes presenting any possible defenses like comparative negligence
or assumption of the risk.

If the rule is a test with multiple elements or facts, then you must analyze each
part from both sides and explain how the facts apply or do not apply to each.

The conclusion is how you believe the situation will resolve itself a”er you’ve


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2 General Writing Tips for Legal

3 IRAC Template Language

4 References

Analyzed in-depth the possibilities on both sides. This doesn’t have to be long,
but it must be complete.

Restate a summary of your Analysis, and then pick a side! For example, “Due
to the lack of any facts that the owner was unaware, the teenagers would
sneak into his backyard, it would be di#cult to establish any duty was owed to
them since they were trespassers. Therefore, even if the rusty metal sheets
were a breach of a general duty to maintain safe premises, it would not rise to
the level of a specific duty based on the facts of this case.”

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