A law office memo, more often called a legal memorandum, is a vital tool to everyone in the law firm, from paralegals to lawyers. This document presents information about a case or law in a few pages, consolidating your research. Many people find writing legal memos helps strengthen their understanding of their cases. The most obvious function of the memorandum is to inform others of the results of your research. The concise six-part format of a legal memorandum ensures it can be easily interpreted by all.
- Skill level:
Label your work "Memorandum" at the top. You can skip this step if you are using paper that has it pre-printed.
Start your memo with a heading. The heading contains who your memo is addressed to, who it is from, the date the memo is sent, and a subject line. Begin the subject line with "RE:" which is shorthand for "regarding".
Write the subject of the memo, which should be in the form of a question, in the next section titled "Question Presented." This should be a single sentence and include the name of the jurisdiction involved.
Write four or five sentences answering, in summary, the question presented in the previous section. Begin with your conclusion based on your research, and follow it up with the most basic points in your argument. Label this your "Brief Answer."
Title the next section "Facts." Present all the legal facts you have discovered in your research. Do not include any discussion or interpretation of those facts. Include all facts you plan to bring up later in your argument.
Write your discussions and interpretations of the previous section in this section titled "Discussion." Begin this with a short thesis paragraph where you identify your issue again and state your answer to the question you posed. Follow it up with a discussion of the facts and how they can be interpreted and why they should be interpreted this way. Be sure to include a counter-argument, and answer this argument with why it is not valid. Conclude this section, which will be the longest, with your answer to the question presented.
Write a single paragraph to make up the final portion, titled "Conclusion." Wrap up your analysis of the issue, and reiterate how certain you are about your arguments.
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