How to write a legal memorandum

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.

How to write a legal memorandum

Discussion Conclusion If you follow the model of including your Short Conclusion early in the memorandum, keep that section extremely brief three-four sentences, maximum. You can then provide a more detailed Conclusion at the end.

Since the purpose of the memorandum is to answer the legal question posed, you cannot simply say that the law is unclear and leave it at that.

You have to trust that your research and analytical skills enable you to provide a reasonable answer.

how to write a legal memorandum

In some circumstances there may be a practical solution that enables you to avoid confronting the uncertainty in the law. However, usually you have to make a decision about what a court would likely do if faced with your fact situation.

Try to avoid using equivocal language in your memorandum where possible.

How to Write a Legal Memorandum | Bizfluent

This is particularly important in the Conclusion section. The Discussion section should be broken down into a separate part for each discrete legal issue covered in the memorandum; subheadings are helpful here.

The discussion of each issue should include an introduction, an explanation of the applicable legal rule, an application of the rule to the legal problem, and a conclusion in respect of that issue.

I The first step is to state the legal issue.

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This can be done in a couple of ways. You can summarize the issue in the form of a topic sentence or question. The most effective style is to use a thesis sentence or paragraph that not only indicates what the issue is, but tells the reader briefly what your conclusion is on the issue.

The issue can also be referred to in the heading for this part of the Discussion section. R The second step is to determine the applicable legal rule.

how to write a legal memorandum

This involves a review and analysis of the relevant cases, statutes, and secondary sources. It is sometimes referred to as rule explanation. Depending on the nature of the legal rule, you may need to review the history of the rule and consider the policy rationale for the rule. You may find there are different lines of cases, each resulting in a different formulation of the rule.

Try to approach this section using rules synthesized from the cases, rather than simply listing a series of individual cases. Avoid lengthy quotations from cases.

How to Write a Legal Memo (with Pictures) - wikiHow

This section includes analysis of the rule, but does not include application of the rule to your facts. A The third step is to apply the legal rule to your facts.


This involves further analysis and weighing of individual cases, distinguishing cases, making counter-arguments, and considering policy issues.

C The last step is to state your conclusion on the legal issue being discussed.

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Although you will include overall conclusions elsewhere in your memorandum, it is also important to reach a conclusion on each legal issue as it is dealt with in turn.A legal memorandum, also known as a memorandum of law, is a document that spells out the facts of a particular case, what laws apply to that case, as well as how those laws should be interpreted and/or applied to reach a decision.

That said, the legal memorandum as a document, is an end product of this creative legal writing process.

And a singularly indispensable asset in the arsenal of every lawyer. Not only is it useful in helping lawyers write important legal issues, but it can come in quite handy in the area of research by helping legal professionals organize. 61 Legal Memorandum Format Sample On the following pages is a legal memorandum formatted the way your memos in this class should be formatted.

The substance . 61 Legal Memorandum Format Sample On the following pages is a legal memorandum formatted the way your memos in this class should be formatted. The substance . Drafting a Law Office Memorandum. Office Memo Format and Explanation; Structure for A Working Draft; you would not write "Did an advertising circular describing merchandise constitute an offer when it offered the merchandise for sale starting at a designated date and time?" because that formulation of the question assumes a legal conclusion.

The intended readers of legal memorandums may not always be clients; they may be also be associate attorneys, partners, or colleagues. In some cases, an attorney may be called upon to write a legal memorandum addressed to the court.

Briefs, Legal Memoranda and Legal Writing - LawShelf Educational Media