One Legal Argument

Robin Boyle Laisure, St. John's University School of Law
Christine Coughlin
Sandy Patrick

This publication is from Chapter 6 of Becoming a Legal Writer, by Robin Boyle-Laisure, Christine Coughlin, and Sandy Patrick (Carolina Academic Press, 2019).



A governing rule may be composed of a single legal argument, or multiple legal arguments, particularly if the client’s question requires analysis of multiple elements or factors. Each legal argument that an attorney builds will have the same components. Those components are

• A statement identifying the legal issue to be addressed.

• The rule governing the legal issue and, where needed, an explanation of the relevant authorities or cases supporting that rule.

• An application of the law to the facts of your client’s case.

• A final conclusion or prediction about how a court might rule on the legal issue.

Although the depth of analysis and the length of each single legal argument may vary, you will need to include each component in the legal argument that you build. Attorneys often use common templates as helpful reminders of these essential components when building a legal argument. This chapter explains several templates and provides examples to help you identify the components of a legal argument.