Legal Research Exercise

For this assignment it will be help to review the following resources:Basics of Legal Research: https://law.library.cornell.edu/ IRAC Method of Legal Analysis Lecture (note the sample template within this lecture)Using the legal research service provided to paralegal students, locate the following:The Minnesota statute of limitations for tort of assaultThe Minnesota Supreme Court case styled Lubbers v. Anderson, 539 N.W.2d 398 (Minn. 1995)For your assignment complete the following:Submit a copy of the first page of the statute and the first page of the court case.Compose a one to two page case brief of Lubbers v. Anderson utilizing the IRAC templateState is MN, attached is the lecture notes
wk1_notes.docx

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Paralegals need to be able to understand and employ legal analysis to effectively serve clients and
support their supervising attorneys. Legal analytical skills are required for nearly every paralegal activity
in which you may engage. Some of common places where you may employ this method include:
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Assessment of the merits of a prospective client matter
Review of case law
An aid to help determine what evidence is necessary to prosecute or defend a case
Practically all aspects of legal writing including, but not limited to, case briefing, legal memoranda,
legal briefs and appellate briefs
In simple terms, one of the skills that will set you apart from a legal assistant or legal secretary is your
ability to employ legal reasoning.
IRAC is an acronym for each step of the process. It stands for:
I
Issue
R
Rule
A
Application/Analysis
C
Conclusion
Let’s see how IRAC works.
One of the most important skills you will need to develop when engaged in legal analysis is issue
spotting. The issue is the question or problem to be resolved by application of a legal rule.
Don’t’ assume there is only one issue for each legal problem. Sometimes there is only one issue involved,
but in the real world, it’s more likely there are many. Sometimes you need to resolve one issue before
moving onto the next. For example, in a negligence action, you’ll want to know whether the defendant
owed a duty to the plaintiff before you can determine if a duty was breached. If no duty was owed, then
no duty was breached.
How do you spot issues? If you are reading a court decision, you’ll probably be told what issues the court
is deciding. If you are not given that luxury, then you must determine what legal problem needs to be
answered or solved.
Let’s look at an example. Suppose a client comes in who has been injured in a car accident. Some issues
that you may need to resolve include:
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Issues of liability
Theories of recovery available – known as a claim or cause of action
The burden of proof to establish liability
Defenses to liability
Measure of recoverable damages
Whether it’s too late to do anything because of a statute of limitations.
As you can see, it can get complicated. The key to issue spotting is to pay careful attention to the facts
and determine what facts pose issues.
The next step is to find and list the legal rules that apply to each issue. Legal rules come from four
primary sources:
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Federal & State Constitutions
Statutes
Regulations
Case Law
If you are reading a court decision, the court will identify the applicable legal rules and will usually spend
some time explaining each.
If you need to find the rule that applies to an issue, then you will have to engage in legal research. For
example, you may review your state’s Supreme Court Opinions to determine the required elements to
establish the tort of negligence in your state.
At this stage, the law is applied to the facts to resolve the issue. If you are reading a court case, the court
will spend time explaining how it applied the law to the facts to reach its decision.
An easy example is determining whether a statute of limitations precludes a lawsuit. Let’s say that a
prospective client has come into the office that was injured four years ago. You believe the client has a
viable claim but discover that the statute of limitations – or deadline in which to file a claim – is three years.
Thus, the statute of limitation bars the claim.
The conclusion is the result of the application of the law to the facts used to resolve the legal issue. In a
court opinion, the conclusion is the court’s holding or decision.
While you have already reached your conclusion in the application section, it is good practice to restate it
in the conclusion. Conclusions can often be quite short. For example, you may conclude that a client was
a victim of a battery, but doesn’t have a claim because he’s the one that started the fight and the other
party has a valid claim of self-defense.
A common mistake that students of law, new paralegals and even new lawyers make is failure to give
proper attention to the facts. Don’t ignore the facts because it is the facts that are applied to the rules that
resolve your legal issue.
It’s good practice to start your summary with a synopsis of the relevant facts of a case or client matter to
be resolved. Facts are relevant if they are used in the application of the law. In our statute of limitations
example, the fact that the client is female is not relevant to the issue of whether the claim is barred by the
statute of limitations. However, the date of her injury is relevant.
It may help to remember the facts by using the acronym FIRAC for Facts, Issue, Rule,
Application/Analysis and Conclusion.
Facts
[Provide summary of key facts.]
Issue(s) Presented
[List the issue to be resolve in the form of a question or a declarative statement (e.g., Is the claim barred
by the statute of limitation? Or whether the claim is barred by the statute of limitations. Remember that
there may be more than one issue. ]
Rule
[List each legal rule (i.e., Constitutional Provision, Statute, Regulation or Case Law) that must be applied
to the facts to resolve each issue. ]
Analysis
[Apply the law to the facts. ]
Conclusion
[State the outcome of applying the law to the facts. ]

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