Large- and Medium-Scale Organization

AuthorEdwin Scott Fruehwald
ProfessionLaw Professor at the University of Alabama
Chapter Goals
To help you understand the importance of large- and medium-scale
2. To help you prepare an outline.
3. To help you organize a legal argument or a discussion section.
To help you understand how to articulate the structure of a document.
5. To help you organize other types of documents.
To help you create continuity between sections, subsections, and
Large- and medium-scale organization is as important as organization of the
sentence and paragraph. A paper that lacks a clear and coherent large- and
medium-scale structure is difcult to read and understand. A well-structured
paper guides the reader through the paper like an evenly owing river, tak-
ing the reader gently from subject to subject. The paper’s content should
generate the structure; the writer should not force a structure on a paper. A
coherent paper generally falls into clear sections and subsections.
After having done some research (and reection), but before beginning to
write, the author should draft an outline. He or she does not have to adhere
faithfully to the outline in the nal version, but developing an outline before
writing helps create a well-structured paper. The rst step in preparing an
Chapter 8
Large- and Medium-
Scale Organization
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outline is to carefully review the paper’s purpose. What problems are you
writing about? Who is the intended audience? Are you writing an argumen-
tative paper or an explanatory one? What are the subtopics? How do they
t together? What are your conclusions?
Organization of a Discussion or Argument Section
A lawyer will generally use the law to organize the discussion section of
an objective memorandum or the argument section of a brief. When there
are two or more issues, you should organize using the issues. You should
put the issues in a logical order. Possibilities for organizing issues include
(1) put threshold issues rst, (2) put the issues in order of cause of action,
or (3) put most important issues rst. Consider the following examples.
This court should grant the defendant’s motion to dismiss based on
lack of personal jurisdiction.
2. A plaintiff cannot recover for negligent iniction of emotional harm.
1. The defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff.
2. The defendant breached the duty owed to the plaintiff.
3. The defendant’s conduct caused the plaintiff’s damages.
4. The plaintiff incurred damages.
When there is only one issue or within an issue, organize by the law. In other
words, take the relevant rule, break it into parts, subparts, and so on. You
should not force subdivisions. When you can’t subdivide anymore, use the
small-scale paradigm from the previous chapter.
First, you need to nd the relevant rule for the section. You can do this
by (1) using a rule already synthesized by a case, (2) synthesizing a rule
from several cases, (3) basing a rule on a statute or administrative rule,
or (4) synthesizing a rule from a statute and cases. If you use an already
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