Unlock the Potential of Your Analysis by Embracing the Facts
Too often, law students (and attorneys) devote substantial time and attention to the rule explanation portion of their analysis at the expense of a highly fact specific rule application. That can make the difference between winning and losing – especially on exams.
Facts matter! Pay attention to details and avoid generalizations. See for yourself with this fun Awareness Test:
The process of applying facts to your rule also matters:
1. Determine whether each rule element is satisfied or “proven” by comparing and contrasting your facts to the rule.
2. Support your conclusion by showing how your facts are analogous to the primary authorities cited in your rule explanation.
3. Or, where relevant, show how your facts are distinct from cited authorities.
Make the transition from your rule explanation to application by affirmatively asserting what the facts prove. Reasonable fact inferences and assumptions are fine, as long as you alert the reader. Highlighting gaps in the facts also is important. The rule application should draw support from the reasoning and rationale relied on by cited authorities. Finally, confront and resolve potential alternative fact conclusions.
Lawyering is more than merely identifying and explaining rules of law. The ability to predict, argue, and influence depends on how well you “own” the facts. Embracing the facts helps you build empathy and creates incentives for others to cheer you on. The law alone can’t do that.