Legal Analysis

Not all cases are the same. Some come with their own set of complications. An understanding of the law is essential to finding the more intricate details of the case. Lawyers can use this understanding to serve the people better.

Legal Analysis Definition

Legal analysis is an important tool in the US judicial system. It helps improve the clarity of a case. In addition to clarity, it assists in making sure that the specific laws or set of laws for the right case. It forces lawyers to dig in deep to figure out ways to solve a case using the right set of laws.

Legal analysis is a process that helps with this. It is an important tool used by lawyers to determine the following:

1. What the issue is

2. What the facts of the case are

3. What are the laws that apply to the facts of the case?

4. The type of remedy expected in court

5. The impact of the judge’s decision on other cases

But what is legal analysis? What are the steps involved? Before we dive into the details, it is vital to understand the importance of facts in the process.


Facts play a key role in the legal analysis process. Each of the four steps in the legal analysis process involves facts. They are discussed below.

  • Role of facts in step 1: The issue contains the facts of the events that occurred. It is the basis of the case currently being discussed.
  • Role of facts in step 2: Different laws apply to different cases. Lawyers must find the specific set of laws that are applicable to the present case. The selected law(s) must be applicable to the facts of the case.
  • Role of facts in step 3: The application of laws determined in step 2 must be applied to the facts available.
  • Role of facts in step 4: The conclusion says how the application of the laws to the facts of the case has produced the result.

It is important to identify the facts before initiating the legal analysis process. This is because, as mentioned in the legal analysis definition, the facts form the basis of any case. The following are the steps a lawyer follows once they receive the facts of the case:

Record all Facts: It is important to make sure you have all the facts of the case. This includes interviews, statements, files, and other similar information that has been collected as evidence.

Study the Facts: Once all the necessary facts are collected, it is important to thoroughly study the facts at hand.

Organizing: It is important to arrange all the available facts in a logical order. Organized facts are easier to access.

Remove the Irrelevant Facts: Not all facts are of value to the case. Evidence like hearsay may hold less weight in a case.

Filter the Important Ones: Not all facts are valuable to the case. Identify the important ones that are crucial to the outcome of the case.


It is vital to perform some type of research before the legal analysis process. The research can be into the area of law that governs the issue. This is important as lawyers may not be familiar with the field of law the current case falls into. Also, familiarity with the specific area of law makes it easy for lawyers to analyze the case and form valid arguments and counterarguments. Common sources of research include:

  • Legal encyclopedias
  • Single- or multi-volume treatises
  • American Law Reports

Legal analysis uses the “IRAC” approach. IRAC is basically the abbreviation for four words that constitute the steps to be followed during legal analysis. Just about every legal analysis definition you find on the internet will include IRAC. IRAC stands for,

I – Issue

R – Rule

A – Analysis

C – Conclusion

The order in which the abbreviation is spelt out is also the order the lawyer must follow. This is mentioned in just about any legal analysis definition you can find.

Step 1: Issue. This step discusses the current dispute raised by the client. In other words, this step discusses the issue that was the reason for the case and the facts related to it. It is important to be careful at this stage, as any miscalculation or falsity can lead to a waste of time and court resources.

Step 2: Rule. Now that the issue is clear, it is time to find the rules (laws) or sub-rules that a lawyer can use to arrive at a just and meaningful conclusion. This is the legal research part of legal analysis. At this stage, lawyers will decide whether enacted laws or case laws apply to your case. Their explanation is given below.

  • Enacted Law: The body of law approved by the government. This includes constitutions, statutes, ordinances, and regulations.
  • Case Law: Also known as common law, case law is the law that is based on judicial decisions made in previous cases. It uses the facts and findings from a similar case that has been resolved by a court or a tribunal with the same authority.

In some cases, a combination of enacted law and case law is also used.

Step 3: Analysis. Now that the issue and the relevant laws are clear, the next step is to find out how the laws apply to the issue. There are three sub-processes in analysis. They are,

  1. Identify elements that are applicable to the situation
  2. Apply the elements found in the previous step to the current issue
  3. Prepare for possible counterarguments that may arise due to the application of the specific law in the case

Step 4: Conclusion. This is the final step in the legal analysis process. The conclusion holds the result of the application of the law in step 3. In other words, this step is a summary of what happens when a specific rule of law is applied to the current dispute.

Additional Resources 

Legal analysis is by no means easy. In addition to the IRAC method and other information mentioned in the article, the following points will come in handy for those who are new to legal analysis.


Focus is the level of concentration required to complete a task. Simply put, it means to focus on the issue or issues at hand.

When talking about focus, it helps to concentrate on the facts of the case and the elements of the rule of law. This eliminates the need to go through the rules of law that are not applicable in your case.

Intelligence and Ethics

Lawyers have the ethical duty to represent their clients to the best of their abilities. Lawyers must possess intellectual honesty — the skill required to conduct extensive research and analyze the problem to come to a valid and fair conclusion.

Another important characteristic required is maintaining proper ethics. The lawyer must not let their emotions or personal views take over during the legal analysis process. They should avoid making decisions that conform to their biases or points of view.

Legal Analysis Example

Jake lives in a two-story house in Salem. The house belongs to John. Jake lives on a month-to-month lease, and his rent is due on the fifth of every month. John has decided to sell the house and leaves a note by Jake’s door on September 6 saying that Jake has to move out before the 5th of October. John also mentions in the note that the house has been sold. Considering the current circumstances, does Jake have to vacate the house by October 5?

The Analysis

Let’s apply IRAC to the example.

The Issue: Did John serve a proper notice of termination of tenancy to Jake?

The Rule: An express notice of termination must include a termination date that must be at least one month after the date of notice. This is the applicable rule for month-to-month tenancies.

The Analysis: The application of the rule to the facts. The rule has two elements: 

  1. Timing 
  2. Express notice

John did issue a note of termination along with the termination date. The law demands that the tenant be given one month to vacate. John issued the notice on September 6 and asked Jake to vacate on October 5. The time given by John is one day short of the month required under the statute.

The Conclusion:

Jake doesn’t have to move out by the mentioned date. This is because John didn’t issue a proper notice of termination, which the statute demands. This nullifies the notice. Jake’s tenancy doesn’t end on October 5, and he doesn’t have to move out.

Final Thoughts

Many people, especially lawyers, search for legal analysis definitions on the internet. There is an immediate need for knowledge about legal analysis. It is a process that helps not just lawyers and budding lawyers but the average citizen as well.

Legal analysis as a process is a tough area to master since most of the work revolves around digging into old case archives on and off the internet. But all this hard work is essential, as a fair judicial system that doesn’t discriminate is the backbone of every society.

Sponsored Ads

Sponsored Ads