FIRAC model essay

FIRAC model essay

Paper details:
– Choose a U.S. Supreme Court case that covers the First Amendment (free speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition). – Use the Supreme Court of the United States website (www.supremecourt.gov) to locate a case. -Follow the FIRAC model in Appendix B to brief the case -Their are five areas the need to be answer between 200 to 300 word response and they are Facts, issue, rule, analyze, and conclusion.

University of Phoenix Material

FIRAC Worksheet

Appendix B: Briefing and Analyzing Cases in Constitutional Law offers a model to brief a court case. FIRAC stands for Facts, Issue, Rule(s), Analyze, and Conclusion. Read about this model and see an example of it in Appendix B. Then, select a United States Supreme Court case on the First Amendment and complete a FIRAC analysis using the worksheet below. For each portion of the FIRAC analysis, include a 200- to 300-word response.


FACTS: Lay out the facts of the case.

ISSUE: Identify the legal issue.

RULE: What provision of the First Amendment applies to the issue you have defined?

ANALYZE: Analyze the case, applying the law to the facts of the case.

CONCLUSION: Draw a conclusion.


Hall, D. E. & Feldmeier, J. P. (2012). Constitutional law: Governmental powers and individual freedoms (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Briefing and Analyzing Cases
Decisions of courts are often written and are commonly referred to as judicial opinionsor cases. These cases are published in law reporters so they may be used as precedent.Many cases appear in this text for your education. Your instructor may also requirethat you read other cases, often from your jurisdiction. The cases included in yourbook have been edited, citations have been omitted, and legal issues not relevant tothe subject discussed have been excised. There is a common method that students ofthe law use to read and analyze, also known as briefing, cases.Most judicial opinions are written using a similar format. First, the name of thecase appears with the name of the court, the cite (location where the case has beenpublished), and the year. When the body of the case begins, the name of the judge, orjudges, responsible for writing the opinion appears directly before the first paragraph.The opinion contains an introduction to the case, which normally includes the proceduralhistory of the case. This is followed by a summary of the facts that led to thedispute, the court’s analysis of the law that applies to the case, and the court’s conclusionsand orders, if any.Most opinions used here are from appellate courts, where many judges sit at onetime. After the case is over, the judges vote on an outcome. The majority vote wins, andthe opinion of the majority is written by one of those judges. If other judges in the majoritywish to add to the majority opinion, they may write one or more concurring opinions. Concurring opinions appear after majority opinions in the law reporters. When a judgewho was not in the majority feels strongly about his or her position, he or she may file adissenting opinion, which appears after the concurring opinions, if any. Only the majorityopinion is law, although concurring and dissenting opinions are often informative.During your legal education, you may be instructed to “brief” a case. Even ifyour instructor does not require you to brief cases, you may want to, as many learnersunderstand a case better after they have completed a brief. Here are suggestions forreading and understanding cases.First, read the case. Do not take notes during your first reading. Get a “feel” forthe case––the facts, the Court’s tone, and the outcomes.Second, brief the case. What follows is a suggested briefing format.A very common format for briefing judicial decisions is IRAC. The acronymrepresents Issue, Rules, Analysis, and Conclusion. It is recommended that you employa modified form of IRAC that adds the facts of the case, hence FIRAC. See Figure B-1.Begin your brief by identifying the most important and material FACTS of thecase. Not all facts mentioned by the court are material to the issue you are studying. Itis possible for a court to reference an immaterial fact, or more likely, it had to addressmore legal issues than you have read about, and accordingly, it has included facts thatcould be material to a separate legal issue. Remember, you are reading cases that havebeen edited and pared down to the topic you are studying.Identify the legal ISSUE in the case. Issue spotting is a very important legal skill.The issue is the legal question the court is answering. The facts of the case give rise toand frame the legal issue(s) of the case.What RULE (s) applies to the issue you have identified? The rules are the laws,from whatever source, that guide the analysis. The rules come in many forms. The lawthat directly applies to the issues and facts is known as doctrinal law. But other processrules may apply as well, such as the rules of statutory or constitutional interpretation,stare decisis, etc. Often, some knowledge of the law, or at least a good intuition, isneeded to identify an issue. This is one of the challenges of being a legal neophyte.ANALYZE the case, applying the law to the facts of the case. Remember, the lawis “blind.” The politics and social dimensions of cases are immaterial. Like Mr. Spockin Star Trek, engage in objective, logical (legal) analysis and leave your personal opinionsout of the mix. Often during analysis, new legal issues will emerge. Be prepared to addthem to your analysis. See the example below to understand how this happens.Draw a CONCLUSION. Students often want to jump to the “final answer.”What is important is that you can identify and frame an issue and analyze the problem.Your final conclusion is less important (unless you are a judge!). In most cases, yourconclusion will not be about guilt or innocence. It will be about the application of alaw to a set of facts.Finally, depending on your objective, you may also want to discuss any concurringand/or dissenting opinions.