Discussion An introductory or "umbrella" paragraph s is a helpful way to define the legal rule s that you will be analyzing. Typically, you will organize your discussion of the legal rule into subsections that correspond to the elements of the legal rule. For example, if you are analyzing a tort, you might break your discussion into three sections:
Begin the first page as follows: Name of person who assigned the research project FROM: Date memo is turned in RE: Name of client, and a short description of the subject matter of the memorandum Put the title of each subsequent section of your memo at the beginning of that section, in all caps, and centered.
How does the relevant law apply to the key facts of the research problem? Thus, the question presented is analogous to the issue or question presented in a case brief. The question presented should be sufficiently narrow and should be objective.
It is usually one sentence, and often begins: Although questions are usually framed so that they can be answered yes or no or probably yes or probably nosometimes they cannot such as "Under New York law, has a retailer made a binding offer when?
Always include the name of the jurisdiction involved, e. Begin with your conclusion: Then give a brief usually no more than four or five sentences long self-contained explanation of the reasons for your conclusion.
Summarize for your reader how the relevant law applies to your significant facts. As a general rule, include no citations. FACTS Provide a formal and objective description of the legally significant facts in your research problem.
The legally significant facts are the facts that are relevant to answering the legal question presented. For example, in an issue involving whether a minor can disaffirm a contract, a legally significant fact would include the nature of the item or service contracted for was it clothing, food, shelter, related to health care, etc.
The description should be accurate and complete. Present the facts in a logically coherent fashion, which may entail a chronological order. Include legally significant facts - facts upon which the resolution of the legal question presented will turn, whether they are favorable or unfavorable to the client for whom you are writing - and include background facts that will make the context of the problem clear.
In this section, do not comment upon the facts or discuss how the law will apply to the facts. All factual information that later appears in the discussion section of the memorandum should be described in the facts section.
Here, you need to educate the reader about the applicable legal principles, illustrate how those principles apply to the relevant facts, and explore any likely counterarguments to the primary line of analysis you present.
Many law offices will expect you to begin with a short thesis paragraph that briefly identifies the issue and the applicable rule without elaborationand restates the short answer. Follow with an introductory section, which provides a map or framework for the discussion as a whole.
The introductory section should summarize and synthesize the rule, setting out all subparts of the rule and clarifying how they relate to one another.
When the synthesized rule is derived from case law, the discussion of the cases should focus on general principles, on the criteria that courts use to describe the rule, rather than on the specific facts and reasoning of the cases.
The introductory section is also where you would mention, if applicable, information about the procedural posture of a case, about burdens and standards of proof, and about rules of interpretation pertinent to the law you are applying.
You should identify any undisputed issues, and explain why they are not in dispute. Then state the order in which the remaining issues or subparts of an issue will be discussed. For a useful discussion of an introductory section, please see pp.
Edwards, Legal Writing and Analysis Aspen After setting forth the conclusion and the rule, you should explain the rule by providing an in-depth discussion of the cases from which the rule is derived. Your discussion of the cases should be specific as to their facts and reasoning. In your application section, you should compare the facts and the reasoning of the cases to the facts of your client's situation.
You need to analogize and distinguish the cases - show why they are similar to or different from your client's circumstances. Be sure to address any counterarguments that could be raised, but show why you believe they would not prevail.
Ultimately for each issue or sub-issue you should conclude as to how you think a court would likely rule on your facts.
The basic structure of the discussion section might look like this:ORGANIZING A LEGAL DISCUSSION (IRAC, CRAC, ETC.) Most legal writing requires the writer to analyze a set of facts using legal rules gleaned from a myriad of sources, including cases, statutes, and secondary materials.
Unlike the non-legal writing you’ve done in college and at work, legal writing has its own specific structure that lawyers. Briefs, Legal Memoranda and Legal Writing You have learned in previous chapters that part of the legal profession involves a large quantity of writing.
Complaints, answers, discovery documents, motions and legal memoranda (sometimes called “briefs”) make up a large part of a court file. Office Memo Format and Explanation. This handout sets out a short description of one way to put together an office memorandum.
The format and structure may differ somewhat from law office to law office (and, here in law school, from professor to professor). The most important thing to note before addressing the model template for a legal memo is not some technical aspect of writing.
The most important thing to have firmly settled in your mind is an understanding of the intent of the assignment. Oct 22, · How to Write a Legal Memo.
In this Article: Article Summary Organizing the Facts Researching the Law Assembling the Argument Drafting the Memo Polishing the Memo Community Q&A A legal memorandum is a document written by a lawyer for the benefit of a client.
It explains a specific area of law, analyzes a given fact pattern in light of the law, and makes a recommendation for a 96%(24).
Issue Statements or Questions Presented a.
Stating the Question You Will Answer: Precisely, Completely, Simply, and Neutrally Expressing the issues accurately is one of the most difficult aspects of memo writing.
Number the issues and use common legal writing conventions for numbering.