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Analyzing or “briefing” a case involves organizing the following key information about the case:

  • The cast of characters (identifying the plaintiff, the defendant, and the witnesses)

  • A brief summary of the facts of the case

  • The issue of the case (the central question the court is deciding)

  • The rule of law (what the case stands for and how it will serve as precedence for other cases of a similar nature within the given jurisdiction)

  • The court’s analysis (rationale of how the court arrived at its decision)

  • The conclusion the court comes to in the case

Law school students use a tool known as the IRAC method to help them extract critical information from the written text of the court’s decision in a case. The text of a given case can be many pages long. The purpose of the IRAC method, therefore, is to condense the case to preferably less than half a page, with simple wording that allows the student to have a full understanding of the case.

In the IRAC method, “I” stands for issue, “R” stands for rule, “A” stands for analysis, and “C” stands for conclusion. Breaking down a case within this framework of IRAC components will help to clarify both what the court decided and upon what facts it based its decision.

The following two cases are provided to demonstrate how the IRAC method operates. You might want to first read the two cases, and then come back to them to extract the IRAC elements. After you read and analyze the two cases yourself, compare your briefing with the author’s briefing found immediately after each of the cases.

The first case presented, Strunk v. Strunk, although not a pharmacy-related case, provides a relatively simple fact pattern followed by a carefully thought-out analysis leading to a reasonable finding by the court.


Court of Appeals of Kentucky, 445 S.W.2d 145, 1969

The specific question involved upon this appeal is: Does a court of equity have the power to permit a kidney to be removed from an incompetent ward of the state upon petition of his committee, who is also his mother, for the purpose of being transplanted into the body of his brother, who is dying of a fatal kidney diseaseimageWe are of the opinion it does.

The facts of the case are as follows: Arthur L. Strunk, 54 years of age, and Ava Strunk, 52 years of age, of Williamstown, Kentucky, are the parents of two sons. Tommy Strunk is 28 years of age, married, an employee of the Penn State Railroad, and a part-time student at the University of Cincinnati. Tommy is now suffering from chronic glomerulus nephritis, a fatal kidney disease. He is now being kept alive by frequent treatment on an artificial kidney, a procedure that cannot be continued much longer.

Jerry Strunk ...

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