Advanced Legal Reasoning Skills
Lawyers are frequently required to develop arguments and to
communicate those arguments in written prose. These arguments often
involve complex chains of reasoning. Developing such arguments, and
presenting them clearly, are difficult and time-consuming tasks.
A technique known as argument mapping can help lawyers articulate
complex reasoning and produce better-organised, more compelling documents.
Argument mapping is producing "box and arrow" diagrams of reasoning. This
process is now supported by specialist software.
This one-day, practice-based workshop covers the fundamentals of argument mapping for
legal reasoning and writing. The relevant concepts and skills are
introduced and practiced in the context of one common task, producing a
short legal advice.
Participants will find the workshop helps them
- Construct well-formed arguments
- Express complex reasoning in written prose
- Learn basic principles of argument mapping
- Produce a quality legal advice
The workshop has four main sessions spread over two half-day sessions
1. Introduction and Overview
- Qualities of a good legal advice
- Example: a poorly-drafted advice
- Introduction to argument mapping
- Argument mapping activity
2. Microstructure: Simple Arguments
A simple argument is a specific piece of evidence bearing upon a single
claim. Simple arguments are the building blocks of all reasoning.
- Claims, premises and co-premises
- Evidential relationships
- "Rabbit" and "Holding Hands" principles for articulating simple
- Simple argument templates for legal reasoning
- Simple argument exercises
3. Macrostructure: Well-formed Complex Arguments
- Combining simple arguments
- The "Pyramid" principle, governing the hierarchical structure of
- The "MECE" principle, governing structure at a given level
- Argument redrafting activity
4. Expressing Complex Arguments in Prose.
- Mapping from an argument tree to prose
- Argument structure indicators
- Advice-writing activity
- Summary and evaluation
Dr. Tim van Gelder, Austhink principal, and Associate Professor of
Philosophy at the University of Melbourne. Tim is a specialist in
argument mapping and developer of the Reason!Able software.
Andrew Palmer, Barrister and
Senior Lecturer in the Law
School at the University of Melbourne. Andrew teaches Evidence and
applies argument mapping techniques in his teaching.
The standard Austhink fee is $2,000 + GST per trainer per day plus
For further information please contact
Tim van Gelder - 03 9225
5218 - fax 03 9347 1504