Legal Decision-Making Flow Charts
Legal decision-making flow charts (see Figure 5.1) consist of information categorized into three columns. The charts are read from top down and left to right beginning in the upper left-hand column. After reading down the first column, one moves to the top of the second column, repeating the process, and then on to the third column. In the first column, the reader initially encounters a file folder indicating the educational category (i.e., student management, instructional program, or personnel management) and the topic of the flow chart. For example, in Figure 5.1 the words STUDENT MANAGEMENT (which are capitalized) appear and identify the educational category in which the case being considered fits. In parenthesis below the educational category, but still in the folder, is the name of the topic. In this instance, the topic is "search and seizure." The next box provides the name and citation of the case actually under review. The case in this example is New Jersey v. T.L.O. The final item in the first column is the issue on which the court was asked to rule.