sample of legal memorandum writing

sample of legal memorandum writing

Essential Components and Techniques in Legal Memorandum Writing

1. Introduction to Legal Memorandum Writing

Legal memorandum writing is one tool to help you accomplish these objectives. By the end of the summer, your goal is to attach the following abilities to your person: the ability to integrate facts with law, framing questions for legal research, examine and analyze both primary and secondary legal sources, and write persuasively and coherently. These different abilities should coalesce when you write a legal memorandum; during your internship, you will be asked to deliver some, you guessed it, legal memoranda. During the term of your internship, you will become familiar with differences in legal standard, legal writing and legal practice. These differences arise because of court rules, policies of the legal services organizations that the contract attorney serves, or individual preferences of the attorneys they work with.

The need to create legal documents is a frequent and sometimes overwhelming aspect of publicly-funded legal services. Writing is also a fundamental component of skilled legal advocacy. Legal writing includes letters to clients and to the courts, briefs, and other legal memoranda. As part of this guide to methods and techniques, we will explore how to write legal memoranda. Such memoranda are used by contract attorneys to research and analyze the law, and to write briefs or motions that apply the law to the facts of a case and present this legal reasoning to the court. These documents must be thorough, accurate, and persuasive, or else the motion or brief that is prepared from them will lack the same qualities.

2. Understanding the Structure and Format of a Legal Memorandum

3. Statement of Facts Typically brief, the statement of facts provides an overview of the circumstances that led to the parties’ lawsuit. This section is also used to identify which individuals, entities, events, or things may have led to a dispute and the issues you are asked to analyze. A court or a supervising attorney may also issue a hypothetical fact situation or set of facts “IRAC”. Utilizing I (Issue), R (Rule), A (Application), and C (Conclusion) describes the legal process of analyzing a legal issue. In analyzing a legal problem, rarely if ever will you limit your consideration of legal authorities to cases on point. Useful statutes, regulations, and appropriate administrative decisions should also be considered. Other sources such as Restatements of the Law or secondary sources such as law review articles and treatises can often provide foundational and other relevant principles; where no “on point” or “binding” authority exists, legal decision making may require you to rely on reasoning by analogy, determining when it is appropriate to employ and apply persuasive authority.

2. Summary of the Assignment Your memorandum should begin designated “I.”, “II.”, etc. or “1.”, “2.” etc., not “A”, “B”, “C” and so forth, with a brief description of the problem or issue presented by the memorandum, i.e., the question that you are asking for the court or your supervising attorney by preparing the memorandum. The sources consulted and legal methodology employed in developing the memorandum, the conclusion or recommended action of the memorandum, and any due date.

1. Heading Your memorandum should have a heading with the following elements: • TO • FROM The reviewer’s name must be a complete mailing address. The notation “RE:” followed by the legal issue or case name and any client name. The current date.

The legal memorandum is the most formal and polished end product of any other legal research project. It is an original and objective document used by lawyers, judges, and legal professionals. The purpose of the memorandum is for you to present a legal analysis, addressing the question presented, and then support that analysis with authority such as cases, statutes, administrative rules or regulations, secondary sources, etc. A legal memorandum typically includes the following sections. However, the structure depends on the format required by the court or supervising attorney. Always check court rules and the requirements of any supervising attorney for whom paragraph (line) indentation, line numbering, and other formatting guidelines may vary.

3. Incorporating Legal Analysis and Research

Legal research is the process of finding legal authority, which is applicable to a given legal question. Legal research shows where the law is, and legal analysis explains what it says. Legal research deals with primary and secondary legal documents, official notes and annotations of the law. Legal research incorporates legal analysis that is the skill of examining how the law applies to a given factual or hypothetical situation. Legal reasoning skills are subsumed in legal analysis and research because both require the lawyer to analyze and critically evaluate case decisions and other legal authority.

Incorporating legal analysis and research is yet another important aspect of legal memorandum writing. Legal analysis and research are the core of lawyers’ work! As an attorney, your clients will look to you for strategic advice to win them legal advantage. Thus, you must carefully delve into your client’s problem and explain the legal alternatives available to the client. Legal research and analysis is the skill that will enable you to strategize to obtain the best solution to your client’s problem.

4. Crafting Clear and Persuasive Arguments

Discussion: The discussion section is a conglomeration of arguments based on the reasoning that draws the conclusion of the memo, including objections to other interpretations. Each argument or division in the discussion section is written in a separate paragraph. This can be a broad issue or claim. This section of the memo is the meat of the document where all explanations, discussions, and arguments regarding the issues and their resolutions are outlined.

Application: In the application section, the drafter composes the facts of the case at hand with the Rule Explanation. The drafter should note the facts that are critical to the analysis of the issue at hand and apply the law to the facts. The relevant precedent should be discussed and applied appropriately. The case most on point should be the leading authority with the supporting cases in compliance. Facts relevant to the writer’s theory should be mentioned in preparation for further discussion.

Rule Explanation: The rule under which the issue will be decided is set forth in the Rule Explanation. Here, the drafter will discuss the precedent case law and/or statutory law that controls the decision of the issue. The authority is clearly stated so that it will be readily identified by the reader of the memo. Since the rule is a standard, the language should be presented in a clear, direct, and concise manner. To the rule section, the drafter must incorporate all supportive facts and relevant cases selected for the correct support of the issue. The key case or statute must be mentioned by name and key facts of the case or statute must be cited.

Brief Answer: The brief answer is the drafter’s response to the question posed by the issue. The brief answer is stated in clear, concise, and direct terms.

Issue: The issue is the question of law presented to the court. It is the answer to the question “What are we trying to resolve here?” For example, “Is there enough evidence to support a finding that?” “Is contract interpretation a matter of law?” “Is negligence a jury question?” “At what level of scrutiny do we look at that kind of law?” “Are parties in this situation class members?” In paragraph form, the issue is stated and then framed in a question format.

Statement of Facts: The case involving the legal issue is briefly recounted for the reader. The facts noted are those pertinent to the legal question involved. No unnecessary facts should be noted. The facts should be written in a clear and concise manner. The drafter is encouraged to state the relevant facts as supporting the drafter’s later legal reasoning in the issue sections or the rule explanation of the memo.

Caption and Heading: The first case in a legal memorandum will be a brief caption that identifies the parties. Following the caption will be a heading indicating the nature of the document, for example, “Motion to Dismiss” or “Application for Writ of Certiorari.” This title helps the reader to focus on the task at hand.

Crafting clear and persuasive arguments is an essential component of the legal analysis process. The reader of the legal memorandum format should be able to follow and understand the arguments of the drafter. An attorney’s persuasive writing is crafted in the following format.

5. Conclusion and Best Practices

5.2. Best Practices Consider the Audience: In legal memo writing, work product is often directed to the managing attorney, in-house competent in the area of disputed law, or the court. It is important to present the result according to decisions rendered by the supervising attorney’s court of interest or other court systems when memo writing. Accuracy in Citations and Citations in Roman Folio Numbers: Ensure that all research is correctly cited. This often includes checking the accuracy of sources. This is tedious work; however, good citations are appreciated and scrutinized by attorneys and the courts. Accuracy within citations can also defeat any allegations of embellishing prior research. When issues are contested in litigation, the attorney’s future opponents can always search court databases and legal documentation for questionable accuracy.

5.1. Summary Legal memorandum writing is a skill that students acquire in the first year of law school. This enables students to use their research skills to construct arguments and findings that are used to help attorneys, courts, and parties understand the applicable law in a specific legal controversy. Legal memorandum writing provides students with an organized method of thinking about issues in a logically flowing structure. By incorporating numerous features and techniques into legal memorandum writing, students can create persuasive written arguments, as well as help all parties to comprehend and substantiate their client’s position. A student’s task is to persuade his or her reader to accept the conclusion as the best decision or advice under the law. In conclusion, legal memoranda proffer the best methodology for both the writer and the reader to analyze and understand the legal application in specific disputes or circumstances.

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