Following the acquirement of a statute relevant to the case in which you are assisting with as a paralegal, you must figure out exactly how that statute relates to or affects the aforementioned case of your firm's client.
You must analyze the statute by first breaking it down, and then, composing the various arguments that may arise from it, both by conventional terms and by your own devices. These processes must be performed in order to ensure the adequate examination of such a statute, thus, leading to adequate representation of your client.
When attempting to break down a statute, with the express purpose of dissecting it, you must divide it according to its "statutory elements." These elements represent the specified portions of a statute that must occur or be completed in order for a statute to be applicable. In an example in which an individual is charged with "carrying a dangerous weapon," the following, then, would encompass adequate elements: they must have not been a member of law enforcement, must have "carried," and it must have been a "dangerous weapon."
Following this process, then, you will be responsible for ascertaining the basis of the issues involved as well as creating the varied arguments depending upon either side. In concurrence with these purposes, you must apply the elements to the facts representative of your client.
Language used, as well as circumstances involved, may raise issues that you will want to take note of as well as examine. The terms "carried" and "dangerous weapon," for instance, may be interpreted differently depending upon the population you inquire of.
"Carried" may be seen as having held onto an item for a certain period of time, while a "dangerous weapon," may be seen as a gun as opposed to a tool such as a hammer. This "issue," which has then arisen can be defined as circumstances in which the application of law to facts does not render apparent and conclusive results. In general, you will need to encounter some type of "ambiguity," in order to ascertain such an "issue."
Prior to taking hold of any legislative history as a reference to abide by, it would be advisable to attempt to work out the statute according to your own interpretation first. You may ponder what argument may adequately persuade the court according to you region of understanding.
Questions you may ask yourself include the purpose of legislature that led to such a statute; and whether or not it is beneficial to conclude that the facts attached to the client be in fulfillment or otherwise of such a purpose.
A chart may also be helpful to this same end as you will be able to sort through elements and facts that may render you answers to your various questions. This should be an exploratory process in which you will take into account both sides of the argument.
Each attempt you make at dissecting the statute in relation to your client's facts, may lead to a multitude of arguments as you analyze and counter-analyze your reactions and conclusions each time.