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ERIC Number: EJ1134620
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1832-8342
"Think Like a Lawyer" Using a Legal Reasoning Grid and Criterion-Referenced Assessment Rubric on IRAC (Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion)
Burton, Kelley
Journal of Learning Design, v10 n2 p57-68 2017
The Australian Learning and Teaching Council's Bachelor of Laws Learning and Teaching Academic Standards Statement identified "thinking skills" as one of the six threshold learning outcomes for a Bachelor of Laws Program, which reinforced the significance of learning, teaching and assessing "thinking skills" in law schools (Kift, Israel & Field, 2010). The fundamental conceptions underpinning "thinking skills" in a legal education context are "legal reasoning," "critical analysis" and "creative thinking." These conceptions shed light on what it means to "think like a lawyer" and help shape a professional legal identity. This paper identifies a number of acronyms used to teach traditional "legal reasoning," drawing particular attention to IRAC, which is commonly understood within the legal academy as Issue, Rule, Application and Conclusion. An incremental development approach to learning, teaching and assessing IRAC is recommended whereby first year law students use a legal reasoning grid to a simple problem-based question before applying IRAC to a more complicated problem-based question in the form of barrister's advice. An example of a criterion-referenced assessment rubric that breaks IRAC down into five performance standards is shared with the community of practice.
Queensland University of Technology. GPO Box 2434, Brisbane, Queensland 4001, Australia. Tel: +61-7-313-80585; Fax: +61-7-313-83474; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A