Abandoning Predictions

16 Legal Communication & Rhetoric (2019 Forthcoming)

UNC Legal Studies Research Paper

9 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2018 Last revised: 28 Feb 2019

See all articles by Kevin Bennardo

Kevin Bennardo

University of North Carolina School of Law

Date Written: October 11, 2018

Abstract

Analytical documents are a hallmark of the law school legal writing curriculum and of the practice of law. In these documents, the author usually applies a body of law to a set of facts and reaches a conclusion. Oftentimes, that conclusion is phrased as a prediction (“The court is likely to find…”), and many academics even refer to analytical documents as “predictive” document types. If that describes you, this Essay's goal is to convince you to change your ways.

Simply put, there is a difference between conducting a legal analysis and predicting the outcome of a legal dispute. If the author of an analytical document has only conducted a legal analysis, they have no business claiming that they can predict the outcome of the dispute. That distinction should be recognized in the teaching of analytical document genres and should be conveyed by legal professionals in their communication of legal analyses.

Keywords: legal writing, legal analysis

Suggested Citation

Bennardo, Kevin, Abandoning Predictions (October 11, 2018). 16 Legal Communication & Rhetoric (2019 Forthcoming); UNC Legal Studies Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3283123

Kevin Bennardo (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina School of Law ( email )

Van Hecke-Wettach Hall, 160 Ridge Road
CB #3380
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380
United States

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