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Introduction

Legal Analysis Explained

Legal Analysis Explained

The term “legal analysis” is one that can be applied broadly across the entire legal spectrum, but it is basis is found in the concrete understanding that the application and use of law is based almost entirely on interpretation. Laws vary across the spectrum of criminal, civil, corporate, or political law, and vary within its many categories in complexity. 
A law could be a simple as a sentence or as long as a book. On the other hand, laws are predicated on finding a consensus on how they are to be interpreted, and sometimes this calls for arguments to be made that support a particular interpretation, which is the process of legal argument. When a legal action has been undertaken by a party, it is based on an interpretation of the law, which has been reached at and supported by legal analysis.
 
The tools used to analyze the law, are as numerous as they are complex. Like any form of discourse, arguments are generally supported by existing arguments as much as they are by reading of written law. These existing arguments are called precedents, and they are usually based on decisions made upon existing court cases which involved interpretation and reinterpretation of the law as a means of establishing a means by which to render a decision.  
In the case of the Supreme Court, their form of judicial review tries to determine whether an interpretation of a law brought before the Court can be interpreted under the United States Constitution. In the case of a law being found in violation of the Constitution or in support of it, the Court renders a decision supporting their finding. That decision then can be used as one form of precedent, though precedents can be established at all levels of the court, not only on the highest court, provided that a higher court has not already invalidated that decision.
 
Legal analysis does not only happen in terms that involve specific legal action (though it is these legal actions alone that can establish precedents), but also enters in legalistic discourse through academic means, which can also be cited to support legal arguments (though they carry significantly less weight than precedents). Generally, this form of legal analysis is called predictive analysis, since it is not based on a legal matter with which it plays a direct part, but are based on presenting hypothetical interpretations. When the matter of legal analysis is based specifically on an existing matter that requires the arguing of a legal point, this is called persuasive analysis.
 
Generally, the practice of law should be scene as the practice of argument, with legal analysis being seen as the means by which an argument is proposed, constructed, and supported either to 

Analyzing the Facts Through Legal Analysis

Analyzing the Facts Through Legal Analysis

At the fundamental level of legal analysis is the importance of facts as they pertain to a legal argument. Facts represent the groundwork that form the concrete basis by which any legal action can be undertaken. A fact, in its simplest form, is anything that has information relevant to its existence.
 
 
 
Evidence represents any material that can be used to support fact, though until they have been bolstered by a legal interpretation, they do not themselves represent facts. Facts ultimately represent the ideas that have been supported or unsupported by evidence. While in many practical cases, facts and evidence may appear to be ultimately identical, it is important to understand that in legal proceedings, they represent two different things. An important difference is that evidence is open to interpretation, while fact is something that is determined to have happened through the successful completion of a legal argument, usually in the eyes of a court of law.
 
 
 
Analyzing the facts of the case involves examining what evidence can be supported to a legal argument, and then use that information as the basis of a legal argument. The evidence that supports facts must then be applicable as validating the legal elements being argued.
 
 
 
An example of this commonly occurs in criminal situations. Say a prosecutor is faced with needing to determine if someone committed a murder by firearm. They have the firearm and the suspect, and they must determine whether the suspect used the gun to commit the murder. 
 
 
 
Of course, all evidence may not be so obvious as what has been presented in the example, and therefore may be open to contrary interpretations and reinterpretations. Say in a case of civil law, where a plaintiff accuses a defendant of having polluted a water supply and causing illness amongst a population. They present as evidence proof of what they say is contaminated water and medical opinions that the people became ill because of it. The defendant’s side could bring in experts to counter those opinions, arguing that the amount of pollution is not substantial and that medical effects were not caused by the pollution. It then becomes the duty of the court which interpretation of the evidence determines actual fact.
 
 
 
As can be seen, facts are crucial to the undertaking of any action, and their ability to be established is directly linked to the success of any legal argument, making them not only important as the end result of a proceeding, but at the outset as well.

How to Apply the Legal Rules

How to Apply the Legal Rules

The means by which legal rules are applied occurs through many different avenues, nearly all of which are dependent on the nature of the law being applied. As a typically rule, the two major categories of criminal law and civil law are privy to two different forms of oversight.  This is called an indictment.
 
In civil laws, the oversight is undertaken primarily on the part of each of the parties involved in the dispute, and their legal representatives, because the aspects of the dispute can be found to be under the nature of a private offense. When a private offense had been found to have occurred, the offended party and their representatives file a suit against the other party, who becomes the defendant in the proceedings. 
The suit is taken before a civil judge, who determines whether it has legal merits to proceed. If a suit is taken to court, unlike a criminal trial where culpability must be found “beyond a reasonable doubt” (meaning that the evidence must establish criminal responsibility a matter of legal fact), in a civil action, the plaintiff has to establish a burden of proof that the defendant has wronged them. If the do so, they are entitled to damages based on a selection of predetermined parameters.
 
It should be noted that criminal law and civil law are not always mutually exclusive in their ability to effect one another, as a civil case can be executed based on the findings and evidence obtained by a criminal case, or vice versa. An example would be in a case of criminal negligence that leads to death. 
The party responsible for the negligence would be answerable to the law because of the violation of legal statutes, and also potentially liable to a civil action (likely under tort law) undertaken by the family of the dead person. If the individual is or is not found to be criminally negligent, that could be applied to the civil proceedings or not. However, criminal punishment will never be enacted by a civil court, nor could financial damages to an injured party be implemented by a criminal one.
 
Of course, implementation of penalties are enforced by the court through penalty of law in either criminal or civil rulings, which are implemented by an enforcement agency on the behalf of the court.

Identifying the Accurate Legal Rules

Identifying the Accurate Legal Rules

Identifying the accurate legal rules of a given legal proceeding seems like an obvious element to legal analysis and argument, but it must be remembered that the legal system is a vast organism, comprising numerous categories and jurisdictions, and is always in an ongoing state of flux due to changes in interpretation facilitated by arguments and precedents. Enacting any legal action involves an accurate identification of the rules of law applicable to a situation, because inaccurate provision of an argument on the wrong rule of law will invalidate the argument immediately, regardless of how convincing or supported the argument is.
 
Again, this may seem like a fairly basic means of which to base an action, and in many regards, it is. Sometimes, the determination of a legal action could be a simple as viewing a law and determining that there is ground to pursue a legal action because the law has been violated. 
However, where it can become somewhat tricky is through the determination of legal precedents, where interpretations of a law can have been established through a pre-existing court case, and that interpretation has superseded the written law, meaning that the legal action may be invalid or need to be mended based on the new precedent. “Clashes of precedent” in these situation are not uncommon, where two sides of a persuasive legal argument can use differing precedents to argue for their interpretation of the law, at which point it is up to the court to determine which law has greater validity (usually it is a judge would make the determination).
 
Complicating these terms further is that the legal system is broken into numerous different sections and subsections, namely between criminal and civil law, and within those into numerous different subcategories. 
Within criminal law, understanding the rule of law can mean making a determination of the nature of law that has been violated, such as whether an action that led to a death was either negligence or falls under the auspices of homicide. In civil law, this could involve deciding whether an action is applicable under the rules of tort law, like malpractice, or under contract or even statute law.
It is in these determinations of applicable laws that the process of legal argument and analysis becomes incredibly difficult and complex, and it is for this reason most legal firms and organizations with legal departments often have a support teams of paralegals, whose job it is to research legal rules and rulings, and provide them to the lawyers who oversee them, who then determine if the argument is worth following up on. 
Legal briefs are then compiled, which consist of complex written arguments that have to often be as dialectical a possible, meaning they must account for counterarguments, reinterpretations, and misinterpretations that can undermine a legal argument. Therefore, legal arguments become complex means by which all loopholes have to be closed and sealed before savvy attorneys and their legal staff can present them to any legal body, either to a court or opposing legal organization.

What You Should Know About the Study of Law

What You Should Know About the Study of Law

When going into a specialization such as law, it must be understood that the practice of law has no similarities to the “legal entertainment” broadcasted on television. Predominantly, it is not based on courtroom theatrics, investigation of crimes, various forms of drama, or a certain level of glamor. It is based on arguments, and generally not of a verbal nature, but of a written one, unless proceeding to trial. The study of law is one predicated entirely on research, and then the ability to use and apply that research to provide a strong argument for your legal point of view. 
 
Laws entails more than just being able to read and understand a collective set of rules, the writing in its own is embedded with heavy vocabulary and legal terms which may differentiate from the same terms, with another use. The law is always changing as a result of legal reinterpretations by the courts, and through the enactment of new pieces of legislation by governing bodies. It is always expanding, always evolving, and always being challenged. 
 
This is when research becomes key to the study of law, research forms the basis of nearly all arguments, providing support and conjecture to mechanics of any thesis or central point. Any argument must be based on more than just the reading of a law, as well as legal precedents that effect the determination of that law. Legal arguments at their core, are opinions which are based upon evidence that can be physical or testimonial, but also supported by preexisting rhetoric, in the forms of others’ opinions and arguments; especially when they have been found to have been argued successfully elsewhere (this forms the foundation of the importance of precedent).
 
The extent by which laws are classified are also vast, and it is rare that any individual practices outside of his realm of legal expertise. Generally, the classifications of law breaks down to two main categories, criminal and civil. Criminal law pertains to laws that govern behavior in society, where offenses to the law are viewed as offenses to the state, and civil law, which pertains to disagreements between two parties that must be remedied through legal recourse.
 
It is due to these complexities that have made the legal profession that is generally so lucrative in real terms for many people, and so consistent in its ability to be employable. It’s what makes the study of the law so rewarding, in many respects, because its rewards must undeniably be earned through study and dedication.