The TREAT paradigm and the doctrine of explanatory synthesis are both organizational methodologies and substantive theories designed to improve the substance of legal writing. The TREAT paradigm doctrine holds that the presentation of legal discourse in a carefully constructed order not only promotes clarity and satisfies audience expectations but also maximizes the communicative potential and persuasiveness of the material. The explanatory synthesis doctrine casts aside the prior methodology of “explanation” of governing legal standards in legal writing. Explanatory synthesis doctrine combines the substantive doctrine of precedent and stare decisis that underlies the Anglo-American common law tradition and the doctrine of analogical reasoning that supports the presentation of common law and positive rules by illustrating the effect of the precedent where the rules were applied. Explanatory synthesis improves the substance of legal writing by combining precedents in a process of inductive reasoning within a deductive reasoning structural paradigm and reveals the factors and policies that determine the outcome of precedent. Classical rhetoric in general, and the writings of Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian in particular, provide substantive support for the TREAT paradigm and the doctrine of explanatory synthesis. Part I of this article will describe the essentials of classical rhetoric and theories of persuasion that are relevant to the discussion. Part II will describe the TREAT paradigm and the doctrine of explanatory synthesis. Part III will describe how the TREAT format and explanatory synthesis support the tenets of classical rhetoric and its theories of persuasion.


Legal Writing and Research

Date of this Version

March 2007