IRAC Method Discussion

Answering a Hypothetical Using the IRAC Method (barb question)

The procedure for answering a hypothetical fact pattern in this course is to use the IRAC method. After reading a fact pattern given in class, as homework or as part of a test; the student then uses the following approach in analyzing the hypothetical for a grade:

I = What is the legal issue?

R = What is the rule (law)?

A = What is the analysis and rationale?

C = What is the conclusion or outcome?

Chapter 1 Hypothetical Case 1
(Read below and answer using the IRAC Method)

  • John Harrison is the owner of Harrison Enterprises, Inc., a small metal fabrication shop located in Poughkeepsie, New York. Andrew Jameson, an employee of Harrison Enterprises, has approached John with a request. Jameson is the proud parent of a newborn son, and he would like to take the next two weeks off from work in order to bond with his new child. Harrison knows that Jameson does not have any accrued vacation time (shortly before his son was born, Jameson had taken a final two-person family trip to Florida with his wife, Sara). He also knows that Harrison Enterprises is not legally required to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), since the company only has seventeen employees (FMLA mandates that businesses employing more than fifty people provide their workers with up to twelve weeks’ unpaid leave every year for a host of specified reasons, including the birth of a child).
  • Harrison wonders whether his company has an ethical obligation to comply with the spirit of the Family and Medical Leave Act, even though it does not have a technical, legal obligation of compliance. Advise Harrison as to whether his company has such an ethical obligation. Should Harrison allow Jameson to take his requested two weeks of leave from work?

Chapter 1 Hypothetical Case 2 (Answer using the IRAC Method)

  • A group of attorneys, judges, and law professionals has collaborated to write a uniform criminal code. The code would create uniformity in criminal law across the United States, defining what constitutes a misdemeanor, what constitutes a felony, how crimes are defined, and what the punishment for particular crimes will be. The code also proposes that the death penalty be abolished, and that the maximum punishment for murder be life imprisonment.
  • Would you favor the adoption and implementation of such a code? What advantages would result from a uniform criminal code? What disadvantages would result? What is the likelihood that all states would favor its adoption and implementation, as opposed to the traditional practice of each state defining criminal law within its own jurisdiction?
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