Western Libraries

Law 5140 Property

John & Dotsa Bitove Family Law Library

Legal Writing

KF240 .F57 2016

Legal Citation

KF240 .C354 2018

Organize Your Research

Facts - Issues - Law - Analysis & Application - Communication

What is FILAC? It is:


Take a look at your fact situation and pull out keywords. Question what is important and what is superfluous.
You need: Your fact situation


Turn keywords into legal issues of substance. What is your situation really about? Real Property? Estates?
You need: Toss the keywords into your favourite search engine, database, the catalogue. See what legal terms come out.


Focus on the legal issue here. Look into secondary sources to understand your legal topic and start collecting references to case law and statute law. Understand legal citation so you keep track of proper details in your references.
You need: Start searching the library catalogue, journal indexes, for secondary sources, which will lead you to your primary law. Study the McGill Guide so you will know what you need to put into footnote citations. Use databases to expand your searching and to collect documents.

Analysis & Application

Start reading! Apply the primary law to your fact situation. This is where you "think like a lawyer".
You need: Cases and legislation (maybe even some secondary authority) to apply back to the facts.

Communicate Your Conclusions

Write up your memo paper! Take time to articulate your points. Be a proofreader (or have someone else read it through). Take care with details like citations too.
You need: Refer to some books on how to write legal memos. These go beyond just how to organize your work. Find someone who is a good proofreader. It does not have to be a law student.