Most legal essay writing requires the writers to assess a set of facts using legal rules derived from a multitude of sources, including statutes, cases, and secondary materials. Now, legal writing also comes with its own particular structure that lawyers everywhere use in one form or another. This is where the ILAC method comes into the picture.
The ILAC method is one of the most prominent frameworks that law students to need to put together their law essays and law assignments. It involves some components that need to be incorporated within the write-up. So, without further ado, let’s delve deeper and discover what ILAC is all about.
What is ILAC?
The ILAC format is a framework for organising your answer to a business law essay question. It basically an acronym for Issue, Law, Analysis, and Conclusion – a structure you need to follow while writing the body of your essay. This simple framework for structuring will help you put together a perfectly written paper.
Although this process may sound daunting at first, it will quickly become second nature with a little practice. There are other similar methods like ILAC that law students often use as an alternative while writing their essays. These methods are IRAC (Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion), CREAC (Conclusion, Rule, Explanation, Application, Conclusion), or CRAC (Conclusion, Rule, Application, Conclusion). Let’s elaborate on this ILAC format of essay writing.
The components of the ILAC method
ILAC is an acronym which is commonly observed in Law essays. ILAC is:
If you’re unsure how to do your ILAC method-based essay writing, you must learn about these components.
This element of the ILAC law method typically refers to the central idea behind the topic of your essay paper. It emphasises on the legal question that needs to be evaluated. It also offers the reader a general idea of what the research is based upon.
The issue has to be presented in the way that it appears neutral or unbiased. Now the key aspect of this element of the ILAC law essay method is to let the reader know what you’re about to explain in the paper. This means presenting enough details so that the readers understand what’s going to follow.
Also, when writing legal essays, you should assume the readers don’t understand the facts or the laws. You must lead the reader along, explaining everything. If you don’t explain it, then don’t expect to receive credit.
The law elaborates on which rule applies to the specific issue you’re discussing in your essay. The law needs to be mentioned as a general principle, and not as a conclusion to the specific case being briefed.
This aspect of ILAC method-based legal essay writing highlights the most prevalent legal rule or procedure which has to be applied to the issue in question. This refers to a specific rule in the law statutes of a nation.
The analysis is the most significant, and the longest, part of your essay. It requires you to apply the rule to the facts of the question or problem. You should use the facts to elaborate on how the rule results in the conclusion. Discuss both sides of the case when possible.
Don’t just mention a conclusion without elaborating on the reasons for it. A conclusion without reasons or explanation simply indicates that you haven’t used the rule and the facts to analyse the issue appropriately.
It highlights the culmination of the issue or the question of law flowing from the application of the governing rule to the present facts. It should consist of a quick summary of the judgement, which explains the liability of the accused, penalties imposed, and the compensation to be provided.
How to Write a Legal Essay by Using the ILAC Method
1. Present the thesis statement
Your thesis statement is the argument about the issue you’re highlighting. The thesis statement should be written like an argument. Make sure that the thesis statement isn’t too vague or too broad; otherwise, you'll lose the purpose of writing the essay.
2. Create an outline
An outline ideally begins with the thesis statement and then highlights each argument and counter-argument that will be addressed in the paper. Under each argument and counter-argument, you can write a list of facts from your research that backs the argument. Take note of the source of each fact to include in your citations later. While creating the outline, keep the ILAC method of legal writing in mind.
3. Put together your introduction broadly
Provide a brief background of your topic at the beginning of your essay. Explain why the topic is significant and briefly summarises the rest of your argument. After reading the introductory section, your reader should know what you are going to elaborate on and in what order you’ll be elaborating it.
Write each argument of your essay as a statement that, if true, would support your thesis statement. Make sure you follow the ILAC structure while developing the arguments. Provide supporting information while analysing your argument. Also, remember to cite your sources.
An impactful essay will always focus on the contradictory points of view. You should properly elucidate on the counter-arguments, and then use evidence and analysis as per the ILAC method to state why your reader should be convinced by your argument and not by the counter-argument.
A proper ILAC example
Check out this example of a body paragraph of an essay from the Columbia University Law School where the ILAC method has been implemented.
This brief guide has touched upon every aspect of the ILAC method of legal writing. Hence, you won’t have any confusion the next time you’re asked to prepare an essay by following this distinct method.
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