Writing a legal memorandum lawyers

Focusing on Your Audience The following documents offer some suggestions for drafting a predictive legal analysis. The suggested format for a law office memorandum, structure for a working draft, a sample memorandum, and an advanced sample memorandum exemplify a conventional structure, highlighting a specific legal question and its answer, followed by a recitation of legally significant facts - the facts upon which resolution of the legal question depends - and a discussion section that identifies the applicable legal rule, applies it to the facts of the case, and addresses likely counterarguments to the principal line of analysis. Some law offices adopt their own format for a memorandum which may differ in some respects from the examples we have provided. When in doubt, follow the conventions chosen by the office in which you are working.

Writing a legal memorandum lawyers

Authority[ edit ] Legal writing places heavy reliance on authority. In most legal writing, the writer must back up assertions and statements with citations to authority.

This is accomplished by a unique and complicated citation system, unlike that used in any other genre of writing. The standard methods for American legal citation are defined by two competing rule books: A Uniform System of Citation. Different methods may be used within the United States and in other nations.

Precedent means the way things have been done before. For example, a lawyer who must prepare a contract and who has prepared a similar contract before will often re-use, with limited changes, the old contract for the new occasion.

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Or a lawyer who has filed a successful motion to dismiss a lawsuit may use the same or a very similar form of motion again in another case, and so on. Many lawyers use and re-use written documents in this way and call these re-usable documents templates or, less commonly, forms.

writing a legal memorandum lawyers

Legal writing extensively uses technical terminology that can be categorised in four ways: Specialized words and phrases unique to law, e. Ordinary words having different meanings in law, e. This formality can take the form of long sentences, complex constructions, archaic and hyper-formal vocabulary, and a focus on content to the exclusion of reader needs.

Some of this formality in legal writing is necessary and desirable, given the importance of some legal documents and the seriousness of the circumstances in which some legal documents are used.

Yet not all formality in legal writing is justified. To the extent that formality produces opacity and imprecision, it is undesirable.

To the extent that formality hinders reader comprehension, it is less desirable. In particular, when legal content must be conveyed to nonlawyers, formality should give way to clear communication. What is crucial in setting the level of formality in any legal document is assessing the needs and expectations of the audience.

For example, an appellate brief to the highest court in a jurisdiction calls for a formal style—this shows proper respect for the court and for the legal matter at issue. An interoffice legal memorandum to a supervisor can probably be less formal—though not colloquial—because it is an in-house decision-making tool, not a court document.

And an email message to a friend and client, updating the status of a legal matter, is appropriately informal.

OTHERWISE: Torture - the lawyers' role

Transaction documents—legal drafting—fall on a similar continuum. A page merger agreement between two large corporations, in which both sides are represented by counsel, will be highly formal—and should also be accurate, precise, and airtight features not always compatible with high formality.

A commercial lease for a small company using a small office space will likely be much shorter and will require less complexity, but may still be somewhat formal. But a proxy statement allowing the members of a neighborhood association to designate their voting preferences for the next board meeting ought to be as plain as can be.

If informality aids that goal, it is justified. Yet many practicing lawyers, busy as they are with deadlines and heavy workloads, often resort to a template-based, outdated, hyperformal writing style in both analytical and transactional documents.

This is understandable, but it sometimes unfortunately perpetuates an unnecessarily formal legal writing style. Recently a variety of tools have been produced to allow writers to automate core parts of legal writing.

For example, automated tools may be used by transactional lawyers to check certain formalities while writing, and tools exist to help litigators verify citations and quotations to legal authority for motions and briefs.

Legal analysis is two-fold: In the United Statesin most law schools students must learn legal writing; the courses focus on: Although not as widely taught in law schools, legal drafting courses exist; other types of legal writing concentrate upon writing appeals or on interdisciplinary aspects of persuasion.

Predictive legal analysis[ edit ] The legal memorandum is the most common type of predictive legal analysis; it may include the client letter or legal opinion. The legal memorandum predicts the outcome of a legal question by analyzing the authorities governing the question and the relevant facts that gave rise to the legal question.

It explains and applies the authorities in predicting an outcome, and ends with advice and recommendations. The legal memorandum also serves as record of the research done for a given legal question.

writing a legal memorandum lawyers

Motions and briefs are usually submitted to judges, but also to mediators, arbitrators, and others.This newly designed CHH model provides its students an intellectual and practical introduction to the study of law, with an emphasis on accelerated learning techniques in legal reading, case and legal analysis, exam taking, and appellate advocacy.

Legal memos might not seem significant, but they are a direct insight as to how you think. It allows lawyers in a firm to get a measure of the depth of your research capabilities, how you process case law, and the quality of how you present your conclusions.

Legal Writing Tips: Memo Outline

Dec 05,  · Law students are typically exposed to the legal research and writing memorandum (“memo”) in their first year of law school. This is perhaps one of the most important assignments during law school — mainly because an attorney will be writing many legal memos during the course of their professional career with internships.

Outline a nonbinding agreement with a business partner before creating a contract by making a Memorandum of Understanding. Learn how to define an MOU and download Rocket Lawyer's custom MOU template in PDF or Word with a free trial. From: Dave Lavinsky, President of Growthink Date: Thursday, September 6, Dear Entrepreneur,.

As you may know, a Private Placement Memorandum or PPM is a legal document that outlines the terms of your investment deal including the . Some lawyers, especially less experienced ones being encouraged to avoid legalese, end up turning blithely informal and flouting the norms of standard English, especially in email messages.

Briefs, Legal Memoranda and Legal Writing - LawShelf Educational Media