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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Murphy on "Case Grids" and Legal Reasoning

I noticed this article by John F. Murphy in a recent SSRN notification email. The title is The Case Grid: A Tool for Analogical Reasoning. Here is the abstract:

This paper describes a graphical method for comparing the relevant facts and outcomes of several cases as they relate to a single legal test. I call this method the “case grid.”

The case grid allows a writer to easily identify similarities and differences between several precedent cases, and between the precedent cases and the facts of the “client” case (the case being analyzed, argued, or decided). These similarities and distinctions form the basis of analogical reasoning. Analogical reasoning — the process of predicting or arguing the outcome of a client case based on its factual similarities to and differences from precedent cases — is in turn a fundamental characteristic of brief-writing and opinion-writing. Because the case grid facilitates analogical reasoning, it deserves a place in every appellate advocate’s — and appellate judge’s — writing toolbox.
I thought this article was worth sharing because I frequently use my own version of the case grid method when writing briefs or papers, and it is a good way to keep cases organized and to outline how cases can be analogized or distinguished from one another. Murphy has some good advice for writing and refining case grids, and I recommend his article to anybody interested in learning about this method for organizing and outlining their legal writing.

1 comment:

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