Short Essays: There will be 5 short essay questions. Each essay will be valued at 5 points for a total of 25 points. Your answers to the essay questions must be in the IRAC format (see below). The essays are to be completed outside of the classroom. They are individual assignments. The essays are due no later than Monday, November 28, 2016 at 5:00 pm on Canvas; however you may turn your essays in any time throughout the term.
The short essay questions are as follows found on pages (in parenthesis) in the text:
- 3-6: arbitration – (pg. 77)
- 5-6: establishment clause – (pg. 119)
- 6-7: contracts (pg. 139)
- 10-1: contract performance (pg. 239)
- 12-2: defamation (pg. 302)
IRAC is the method in which most courts write decisions. It was extremely helpful to me in law school. I also think it helps solve problems in other disciplines as well. It certainly helps students begin to learn logical thinking.
I = Issue
R = Rule
A = Analysis / Application
C = Conclusion
Issue – What is the legal issue or question raised by the facts of a case. Said in another way, what is the legal issue or question the court (you) are trying to answer? Often, the chapter question provides you with the legal issue. Sometimes, you should try to be more specific. For instance, some questions ask at the end: “How should the court decide this case?” Of course, that is the general question of every single case ever tried in court. It isn’t specific enough. Instead, a more specific way to state the issue might be, for instance, “Did the plaintiff breach the contract?” or “Is X Corporation liable for a defective product that injured a 3rd party?”
Rule – State and explain or define the law or rule that applies to this case. You will have read the rule somewhere in the chapter. As an example: “Hearsay is testimony someone gives in court about a statement made by someone else who was not under oath at the time of the statement.” “Hearsay is not admissible as evidence.” In this section, you do not discuss the facts of the case – you just state the rule that would apply in any case involving this particular issue. Make sure you include an explanation of the rule – not just the name.
Application / Analysis Here you apply the rule you’ve identified above to the facts to reach a conclusion. Said another way, you analyze the facts according to the law to reach a conclusion. There are always two sides to each case. While sometimes one side has a much stronger argument than the other, and obviously the court will decide the case based on the strongest argument, that does not mean the other’s argument is necessarily invalid. Assuming you’ve identified the correct issue and rule, your conclusion will usually not be “wrong” provided your analysis is logical. The majority of the class may not subscribe to your conclusion; however, what I am looking for is whether you support your conclusion with sound reasoning.
Conclusion – This can be a one sentence statement. Carrying forth with the example above: “the witness’ testimony was hearsay (for the reasons set forth in your application) therefore the court shall exclude it as inadmissible evidence.”
Late Assignments: Five points will be deducted for each day an assignment is late. Any assignment submitted after Friday, December 2, 2016 at 5:00 pm will receive zero credit.