Navigating this Blog

There are countless ways to style legal writing. In this blog, you will find various approaches to legal writing that I have found to be effective. Take it all with a grain of salt.

I hope some of this helps. Good luck!

Analysis - CREAC

CREAC Overview (Conclusion, Rule, Explanation of Rule, Analysis, Conclusion).  This is the heart of your memo.  At this point, you have introduced the reader to the issues at hand, the underlying facts, and a brief overview of your argument.  Further, you have decided how to structure your argument in terms of sections and subsections.  Now, based on that organization, you are going to analyze each of the sub-issues that you have identified using the CREAC model--one CREAC per subsection.


Tackle one sub-issue at a time.  According to this model, you will craft analysis based on the CREAC model to discuss each individual element/sub-issue, one at a time.  One sub-issue=One CREAC.


CREAC Structure.  As mentioned above, CREAC stands for Conclusion, Rule, Explanation of Rule, Analysis, Conclusion.  The CREAC model (like other models for legal writing, e.g., IRAC), provides a simple template to guide you in structuring your analysis so that your analysis is easier for the reader to follow.  Follow the hyperlinks below to learn more about each element of CREAC.

In terms of actually laying out your CREAC analysis, I recommend the following:
  1. Heading (Conclusion): Use your Conclusion as the heading to your subsection.  Remember, this Conclusion should only speak to the particular sub-issue that you are analyzing.  Thus, if your memo addresses whether your client committed a crime, the larger issue is, "Whether Defendant Jones committed the crime."  However, if you divided your memo into two sections to address the two main elements of the crime--i.e., mens rea and actus reus--then, in your mens rea section, you should limit your Conclusion to whether your client had the requisite mens rea to be found guilty of committing the crime.  Thus your Conclusion would read: "Based on the evidence before the court, Defendant Jones did not have the necessary mens rea."  Mind you, I am not a criminal law attorney, so you would most likely not phrase the conclusion like that.  The point being though that--in your mens rea subsection--you would not have a Conclusion that simply stated, "The Defendant cannot be found guilty of the crime," because that would be too broad.  You must limit your conclusion to the sub-issue at hand.
  2. First Paragraph (Conclusion, Rule, Explanation): Your first sentence of your first paragraph should restate the Conclusion that you included as the heading to your subsection.  Some readers choose not to use repeat the conclusion, which is totally fine.  Your second sentence of the paragraph should clearly state the relevant Rule. Remember, as with the Conclusion, this Rule should speak only to the specific sub-issue that you are analyzing (e.g., "A jury must find that Defendant Jones had criminal intent in order to convict him of the crime."  And, once again, I am not a criminal attorney, so please do not repeat that phrase on a criminal law exam!).  Following your single sentence rule, your third sentence should provide the reader with an Explanation of the Rule, which could be anywhere from a single sentence to many sentences.  Ideally, your Explanation would include a list of factors/considerations that you plan to discuss in the remainder of your subsection.  If you include such a list, then you should organize the remainder of your subsection according to that list of factors.
  3. Analysis Paragraphs: Following your introductory paragraph, you should separate your Analysis into individual, thematic paragraphs, with each paragraph discussing a separate aspect of the sub-issue that is made clear in the first sentence of each paragraph by use of effective topic sentences, hopefully corresponding to the list of factors that you articulated in your Explanation above.  In each of these paragraphs, you should include discussion of relevant case law, and you should compare that case law to your client's circumstances.  
  4. Conclusion: Restate your Conclusion at the end of the subsection in a single, one or two sentence paragraph.  
If your analysis of the issue at hand is incredibly brief, perhaps because the particular sub-issue does not require much discussion, then you can make your entire CREAC into a single paragraph (generally, still using your Conclusion as a heading and repeating the Conclusion at the end).

Follow the links below for more detailed tips on drafting each element of CREAC.
C (Conclusion)
R (Rule)
E (Explanation)
A (Analysis)
C (Conclusion)