“I love the categorical approach!” – said no federal practitioner (or court), ever. The categorical approach has been a thorn in our sides since it was created by the Supreme Court in Taylor v. United States, 495 U.S. 575 (1990). From the Armed Career Criminal Act, to Section 924(c); from the career offender guideline, to child pornography sentencing enhancements, the categorical approach cannot be avoided. But while it may be here to stay, this analytical framework has proven to be one of our greatest tools to achieve substantive relief for our clients. In this interactive presentation, attendees will work through each step of the categorical and modified categorical approach analyses. The presentation will place particular emphasis on post-Mathis issues of statutory divisibility and the use of Shepard-approved documents. Attendees will leave this session with a greater comfort in employing the categorical approach, will be able to identify common missteps and opportunities for advocacy, and will perhaps even leave with some fondness for the framework so many have grown to hate.