Chapter 1 Introduction to Legal Analysis and Communication

This chapter outline the book and what we are to be expected to study. For this first module (what I read today) we will learn how to think like a lawyer and use that information to benefit us in the future. This chapter also lists several glossary words that may be beneficial. I will list them below and update them during lecture.

Chapter 2 Reading, Thinking, and Writing like a Lawyer


Lawyers are active readers. They focus on reading unedited cases while law students read doctrinal edited cases. The purpose of reading like a lawyer to to pinpoint what material is needed for your client. You select the material, read the essential points (where analogous to the client’s case) then skim over the rest of the material making sure that you don’t miss any vital parts.


Thinking like a lawyer simply means thinking predictively. However, to think predictively, you need to review both sides of an argument, to take a neutral approach. Thinking like this will allow you to give your client competent and reasonable advice on whether to proceed with a case or not.


When advising a client (or an associate) you want to write with this predictive way of thinking. You will start your process of research by conducting inductive analysis (starting with your client’s specific case then finding broad rules and conditions). Then writing you work backwards by applying those rules and conditions to your client’s case.

Chapter 3 Predictive Legal Analysis

This chapter was pretty much an application of chapter 2. It uses the learning process discussed and applies it to a case and hypothetical case in the book.

Chapter 4 The structure of a predictive Legal Memorandum

A predictive memorandum serves the purpose of being specific to the needs of the client. They outline the rule, the analysis of the rule, and the potential applicability towards the client.


  1. Heading – Who is the memo to and what is the subject of the memo
  2. Questions – What is the legal question at stake (what is the issue
  3. Short answer – Provide a quick holding
  4. Facts – What is the background of our client
  5. Analysis – What is the general rule and how does it apply to our client

Chapter 5 The Process of Drafting a Predictive Legal Memorandum

There are several steps to follow when drafting a predictive memorandum, however they can be simplified into two steps

  1. Conduct proper legal analysis (pre-drafting)
  2. Draft, edit, and proofread your memo

More specifically, here are all 12 steps as outlined by the book:

  1. Understand your client’s factual situation
  2. Determine the legal question
  3. Determine the applicable (global) rule of law
  4. Determine the conditions for the rule and assess which conditions are at issue
  5. Select cases that are analogous
  6. Analyze and develop arguments as to the rule’s likely application to your client’s situation
  7. Determine whether additional research is necessary to further develop the analysis of a condition
  8. Outline the Discussion section of your memo
  9. Draft the Discussion section of your memo
  10. Revise and edit the Discussion section of your memo
  11. Draft and edit the remaining sections of your memo
  12. Proofread your entire memo

Legal Analysis and Writing (Shelton, Wallace, and Weresh)

Additional Notes

Unlike most other courses, Legal writing is a practice course (the others are doctrinal courses). Legal writing is a skill that needs to be developed by taking a different approach than we might be used to.

Most of our legal writing will take the form of predictive analysis and will be done internally through a memo towards another attorney.


The content contained in this article may contain inaccuracies and is not intended to reflect the opinions, views, beliefs, or practices of any academic professor or publication. Instead, this content is a reflection on the author’s understanding of the law and legal practices.

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