LawProse Lesson #324: How to Interpret Statutes and Contracts.

LawProse Lesson #324: How to Interpret Statutes and Contracts.

How to Interpret Statutes and Contracts.

Are you analyzing a question of statutory construction or contractual interpretation? Your basic template is this: text, structure, purpose, and history—in that order. Each one, preferably, is supported (in a brief) by a full-sentence point heading. To see lots of first-rate examples, see The Winning Brief (3d ed.) § 94. We’ve said it before in this space, but it’s well worth repeating: text, structure, purpose, and history. Yes, legislative history is a fourth-tier argument. Don’t forget it.

Source: Garner, The Winning Brief 660–73 (3d ed. 2014).

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