Hl legal method


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Murray Chapter 1 Section III
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Murray, Legal Writing and Analysis (2d ed. Foundation
Press 2015), Chapter 1 (Section III)

Chapter 1 • Introduction to American Legal Method ' 5
HL LEGAL METHOD

MAKE THE CONNECTION!
Among the first things a law student should attempt to grasp are: what is the law, where does the law come from, and what is the lawyer’s role in the legal process? These three ideas, discussed in more detail below, necessarily interrelate to form the basis for the phrase that titles this Chapter. “Legal method” is an expression to de­scribe the fact that the practice of law at all levels and in all places of employment requires a methodology according to which each participant in the process must prop­erly research the law, interpret the law, explain the law to others, and, if appropriate, to advocate a certain interpretation of the law that may require the law to be modi­fied, revoked, or extended. This process fits within the three general terms of legal method: research, analysis, and communication.
Legal:methodisresearch/analysis, and com m u nicatioh. A: la wye г analyzes facts to deteriTiihe issues (questions) that must be answered in order to render legal advice, and performs research to find the ,... jiaw-^-the legal authorities—that define and lead to answers to these : issues/The lawyer then analyzes the law and determines how it interacts with the facts and cominunicates the results of this analysis.
You soon will learn many ways to approach and think about legal problems, but the goal of legal education is to equip you with the skills to find the governing law on any given topic and to apply that law in new contexts or situations. Your legal research and writing course typically is the first course to teach the skills necessary to do just that. Accordingly, your assignments in your legal writing class likely will be designed to familiarize you with the processes of determining legal issues (legal questions that need to be answered from the facts presented in a given situation); researching the law that applies to answer such issues; analyzing and articulating the law as you uncover it; applying the law to a set of facts; and writing your con­clusions to an audience.

  1. What is the law?

A nutshell definition of “the law” may seem easy to state, but you will spend the better part of your law school career trying to get your arms around this concept. The law is authority—that which we hold to be authoritative in governing, regulat­ing, and adjudicating human interaction in a civilized society. The law also is the body of statutes, ordinances, administrative rules and regulations, treaties, executive orders, judicial opinions, legal principles, and interpretations of all of these sources, that govern human actions and relations. Black's Law Dictionary states that the law is “The aggregate of legislation, judicial precedents, and accepted legal principles; the body of authoritative grounds of judicial and administrative action; esp., the body of
rules, standards, and principles that the courts of a particular jurisdiction apply in deciding controversies brought before them.”




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