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 (Conclusion, Rule, Explanation of Rule, Analysis, Conclusion) is a common approach to organizing analysis of a specific legal issue.  CREAC begins with your conclusion.  That is, you will tell the reader your opinion on the legal issue from the outset, and you will then proceed to demonstrate your reasoning.  Another common approach to legal writing is IRAC (Issue Rule Analysis Conclusion), where, instead of starting with your conclusion, you merely state what the issue is.  I view IRAC as being more akin to a mystery novel than an informative memo because, instead of coming out and disclosing your conclusion from the outset, you are keeping the reader in suspense until the end of your section.  But we are not writing mystery novels.  We are instead just trying to communicate our opinion in a direct, easy to understand fashion.  By stating your conclusion from the start of your section, your reader will better understand your analysis and why you reached that conclusion.

One CREAC per element/sub-issue.  If your legal issue includes a four-part rule, then you should probably have four sub-sections within your Discussion section, one for each element of the rule.  Each one of those subsections will be its own CREAC.

CREAC Structure.  As mentioned above, CREAC stands for:
Explanation of Rule

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 of battery."  However, if you divided your memo into two sections to address the two main elements of the crime--i.e., (1) a touching that was (2) unwanted, you should limit your Conclusion to the specific element of the crime that you are addressing in this section.  For example, your Conclusion to Section one might read: "Defendant Jones did not touch the alleged victim."  
  2. First Paragraph (Rule, Explanation): The first sentence of the first paragraph of your section 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., "To convict him of battery, a jury must find that Defendant Jones actually touched the alleged victim.").  Following your single sentence rule, your second 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 when analyzing the issue.  If you include such a list, then you should organize the remainder of your subsection according to that list of factors.  For example, "In making this determination, the court will consider (1) the extent to which Jones came into direct contact with the alleged victim, and (2) whether Jones used some other means to touch the victim."
  3. Analysis Paragraphs: Following your introductory paragraph, you should separate your Analysis into individual, thematic paragraphs, hopefully corresponding to the list of factors that you articulated in your Explanation of the Rule 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.  
Follow the links below for more detailed tips on drafting each element of CREAC.
C (Conclusion)
R (Rule)
E (Explanation)
A (Analysis)
C (Conclusion)