This Article applies scientific research to improve and systematize legal synthesis, a vital element of reasoning that spans legal analysis, legal education, and law practice. Despite its critical role in legal analysis, synthesis is poorly understood, hard to perform, and even harder to describe. Synthesis embodies a hidden curriculum that legal educators expect students to learn “by osmosis.” This lack of transparency frustrates both professor and student, rendering the skill difficult to teach, assess, and master.
This Article provides reliable methodologies to better understand how legal synthesis really works and how to actually perform it. Part I provides a high-level overview of the centrality of synthesis and inductive reasoning in legal analysis and a review of legal texts examining how legal synthesis is described and taught. Part II examines the science of synthesis, the role of categorization in inductive reasoning, and the research findings leading to greater inductive strength. Finally, Part III explains the mechanics of synthesis and proposes concrete, evidence-based recommendations for effective legal synthesis.