Legal Client Memo Format
Secondary sources such as books, articles, law journals, and legal analysis publications are a good starting point to support your legal memo search. While secondary sources are not binding on the courts, meaning courts are not obligated to follow these sources, they are still useful tools if you know little about a topic. In general, a legal memorandum consists of six sections with the following information: The standard memo usually contains the following sections: In your own memo, you can tell the facts completely chronologically, you can put the most important incidents or facts first, or you can group the facts into individual topics if the facts are complex and if this is the easiest way, to understand them. Choose the organizational scheme that you think will make the facts clearest and most memorable for the reader. A short one-sentence statement that defines how the law applies to the legal question in question and the jurisdiction in which the question will be decided. The question asked is specific and impartial and does not presuppose a legal conclusion. 1) The question submitted identifies the question(s) to which the memorandum is intended to answer: How does the relevant law apply to the main facts of the research problem? The question should be sufficiently narrow and objective. A solid review should ensure that you know the following information: Task: Prepare an open-ended legal memo on whether, under the Fourth Amendment, the use of a drug-sniffing dog in an apartment hallway is considered a search that requires police to first obtain an arrest warrant. Use secondary resources to better fill out the most important legal questions and questions, as they relate to the facts in the association of legal notes. Your legal research should help formulate the problem and lead to other relevant documents, including cases and laws. The legal note shows your critical legal thinking skills. Use your research plan and materials to organize your analysis.
Remember to clearly articulate the law and facts in an active voice and present your analysis in a logical way. The best way to improve in writing is to practice writing. So use the above templates and start practicing. Sharing your models with a colleague or friend who is also a lawyer is another way to improve your skills. The lead lawyer will likely read this section first. It predicts how the court will apply the law and how confident you are in your data-driven prediction. With an unbiased advisory tone, you identify next steps and propose a legal strategy to move forward. 10) Be sure to indicate in your facts section what legal claims are being considered or made, and describe any legal proceedings that have already taken place. More information is available in our guidance documents. Search for books on legal writing under the F15 mark in the Law Library at Level 3 or search for “legal writing”.
See for example: This document contains a brief description of how to assemble a memorandum. The format and structure may differ slightly from one law firm to another (and here at law school from one professor to another). Once you are in practice, you can customize the format according to the needs of your desktop. Primary sources are not always apparent. Work backwards in such cases. Reviewing secondary sources helps you identify a list of resources relevant to primary law, such as case law and related legislation. Keep your research organized and create a research plan to identify important resources. The research design lists the relevant primary law and how case law or law supports your comprehensive legal analysis. Wondering how to write a legal memorandum for dummies? Just follow a few steps and insert some sections to create this content.3 min spent reading A memo can be addressed to a colleague or supervisor at a law firm (known as an “internal” memo). Occasionally, you may be asked to write a “letter to client”, or the memorandum may be addressed to both the client and a legal colleague.
Read your task instructions carefully to determine the target audience for the memo. Legal notes generally take one of three forms. Each has a unique purpose, depending on who the recipient is. These include: 23) The overall conclusion contains a summary of the main points of your analysis. In the section of your application, you may be grappling with areas of uncertainty in legal doctrine and/or competing policy justifications. You may also have had to deal with a seemingly contradictory set of facts: some seem to meet the requirements of the rule; Others suggest that the rule is not being followed. You may have weighed the arguments against the counter-arguments. After doing all this, you need to take a stand and make a statement about how the court will apply the law. In view of the more detailed short answer, the author has opted here for a brief reformulation of the final conclusion. Check out this interactive tutorial from the University of Ottawa, Simplified Legal Notes. You can opt for a sample file – you will be informed of the client`s history, receive instructions from the referring lawyer and get advice on writing memos. Use the legal memo room wisely.
Keep in mind that the length of the legal note varies depending on the topic. Some topics require only a brief summary, while others require lengthy treatment. To find your way around, search your office`s document management system for previous legal notes. To: Name of the person who commissioned the research project FROM: Your name DATE: Date The memorandum is changed to SUBJECT: Client Name and Brief Description of Memorandum Subject Although the “Question Asked” section is short, it should contain (i) a brief reference to the legal claim and relevant doctrine, and (ii) contain the most legally important facts of your case. A comprehensive and balanced question is concise – it immediately goes to the heart of the legal question – and directs the reader to the real context. Lawyers can then include any case law citations in the legal note in court records to support their arguments. Given this broad potential scope, it is imperative to review all the case law in your legal note. Any unexamined case law that later ends up in public documents results in a reprimand by the court. Answer all questions completely and directly. Don`t be indirect, indecisive, or undecided. Base your answers on a reason that is legally substantiated.
Do not use phrases such as “it seems” or “it seems that.” It is ambiguous language. A quick legal prediction about the question asked, based on a short explanation (four to five sentences) related to the law and relevant facts. Question: Were the statements made during a live television interview defamatory against client Elizabeth W.? 16) If the rule statement serves as a thesis sentence for a longer discussion of a legal rule that has developed over time in a number of cases, the rule proof serves as an explanation and elaboration of that thesis sentence. 11) Identify your customer and briefly describe your customer`s goal or problem. The next step in creating the memorandum is to decide on a logic model for readability. This means writing research in a way that is easy to understand and digest. The memorandum must be clear so that the reader understands the case and the laws that concern him. Many law firms expect you to start with a short thesis paragraph that briefly identifies the problem and the applicable rule (without elaboration) and repeats the short answer. This is followed by an introductory section that provides a map or framework for the entire discussion. The introductory section should summarize and summarize the rule, introduce all the subparts of the rule, and clarify how they relate to each other. If the summarized rule is drawn from case law, the examination of cases should focus on general principles, on the criteria that courts use to describe the rule, and not on the specific facts and arguments of the cases.
In the introductory section, you can also mention information about the procedural status of a case, the charges and standards of evidence, as well as the rules of interpretation of the law you apply. You must identify all uncontested issues and explain why they are not contentious. Then specify the order in which the remaining issues or subparts of a problem will be discussed. For a useful discussion of an introductory section, see pp. 111-114 in Linda H. Edwards, Legal Writing and Analysis (Aspen 2003). While your search for secondary sources may include books and treatises, law review articles, and other legal analysis publications, be sure to review all legal authorities for relevance. The following format is a relatively simple and versatile template for legal notes. Keep in mind, however, that depending on your industry, you may include certain details or fields in your business template.