How to write a legal memorandum

This means that attorneys should not simply write their recollection of events; they should rather persuade the reader to understand the details of the case and how the law relates or applies to them.

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.

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.

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. 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.

how to write a legal memorandum

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. 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. 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. IRAC need not be applied rigidly as long as all the elements are covered.

Your decision about how to divide up the legal issues will influence the way that you apply IRAC. For example, if you are dealing with cases from a number of different jurisdictions you can structure your discussion separately for each jurisdiction, or cover all jurisdictions when you deal with a particular issue.

You may want to discuss each sub-issue separately. However, if that would result in repetitive discussion of the same cases in different sections of the memo, it might be better to combine your discussion of some of the sub-issues. A note on citations Your memorandum may be used to draft a letter to the client or a brief to the court, so it is extremely important to cite all of your sources and pinpoint to paragraph or page numbers as much as possible.

It is better to err on the side of providing too many citations than not providing enough. Remember that the ultimate goal of legal citations is to ensure your reader can easily find any of the material you reference. The Sample Memorandum uses in-text citations.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.

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. An attorney prepares a memorandum of law .

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.

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.

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