This assignment is due today Sunday 10:00pm EST.
Read “Law Research and Writing Skills: Writing Legal Memos,” Monash University Library, Monash University https://guides.lib.monash.edu/law-research-writing/legal-memos
Legal Writing: An Overview,” Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School, https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/legal_writing
Unit 6 assignment Communicating Effectively in Writing Through a “Predictive” Office Memo
: A legal memorandum serves many different functions. Sometimes, you are asked to take the law and argue that the law is in your client’s favor. Other times you might be asked to argue how that law specifically defeats your opponent’s case. This is known as “persuasive” writing—the memorandum seeks to persuade the reader of a specific idea.
In the “memo” below, your job is not to persuade, but rather to research, and apply the law. To “tell it like it is.” Your boss is asking you to apply a case to your client’s particular facts and let her know if the case is going to help or hurt her new client, Sam Nguyen. You are asked to make a prediction—and write a “predictive” or objective legal memorandum. This memo will go to your boss, not the court, which is known as an “interoffice” (within the office) memorandum.
From: Attorney Susan Maruca
Re: Client/ Sam Nguyen; Postsecondary Child Support
Date: May 19, 2019
I was just hired to represent the obligor in a child support case in Allegheny County Domestic Relations Court (Pennsylvania). The last time I represented someone in a similar situation, the Blue v. Blue case was in effect. Can you pull the case in Nexis Uni, write a memo briefing Blue, and let me know if it is still good law? Thanks.
Respond to the memo above by writing an objective or predictive memorandum.
The memo must include a case brief using the IRAC method covered in Unit 3.
The memo must be properly cited using Bluebook citations.
Upload your memo
Time Management and Helpful Tips
The estimated time to complete the legal memo is 3-4 days of daily work on this project of approximately 3 hours. This time frame enables you to review the case law and write a preliminary outline before composing a draft of the memo. It would also allow you to spend time revising your memo to achieve the goals stated in your rubric.
Find a quiet place to write and let family and friends know that phones will be turned off during this work time. Try to write in the same location each time so that you develop a work routine. Write a note to yourself before you end your reading/writing session reminding yourself where you left off and what you want to do when you start writing again next time. These notes save significant time when you sit down again to get started. Remember, writing takes time and revision—your first draft is a first attempt to compile your thoughts and ideas. There will be parts that are useful and parts to throw away. Don’t be afraid to eliminate early writing—professional writing is a product that is built and rebuilt until it is clear, organized, and responsive to the assigned task.
Read your final draft out loud to make sure that you haven’t missed confusing language or typographical errors that spellcheck will not catch. Clients and managing attorneys expect professional writing.
Writing a Legal Memo Legal Writing Series No. 2
Law Library, Monash University
This can be a ‘legal practice’ document, to a colleague or senior member of a law firm a document on legal policy. For example, to a politician or an organisation responsible for policy change, such as a submission to a law reform commission.
The tone will be impersonal and objective, the writing concise and precise, using the accepted citing style. You may use question-style sub- headings, and number paragraphs for ease of reference.
As an assignment, a ‘memo’ is usually for in-house use, intended to be used by legal colleagues.
You may be asked to add a 'letter to the client' or the memorandum may be for the client as well as for a legal colleague.
You need to focus on the audience as well as the task.
If you have any questions, consult your assignment instructions or your lecturer.
For a legal colleague:
A 'letter to a client':
Is written in a more informative, non-legal style, emphasising the possible actions and likely outcomes, usually with recommendations.
You will be writing persuasively, emphasising the strengths while minimising the weaknesses of the client's position, and arguing in their favour.
For a legal memorandum addressed to both:
memorandum of advice? What is a
the main document?
Most will be looking at the issues arising from the client’s questions or from a scenario.
Your sub-headings should reflect the issues, and may be phrased as questions.
You need to analyse issues in depth, researching the current legislation, court interpretation.
Remember to investigate the reasons for ‘considered, distinguished’ etc and any split Bench judgments. Then apply these findings to the issues arising.
Anticipate the counter-arguments, and bring each issue to a conclusion. This should be your assessment of a possible court decision.
Relevant policy matters can be included, or discussed in a separate section.
What goes into
For recommendations, consider feasibility and practicality. It is not the same as a conclusion; you must assess the likelihood of a course of action having the desired outcome for the client.
eg for an Attorney-General. Start by summarising the issues and their significance.
Usually you will be researching policy matters, perhaps arising from a judgment, perhaps addressing a community concern.
Then move into background, purpose and discussion.
The analysis may have a different focus, such as the intended purpose of the suggested reform, amendment or submission.
You would usually be looking at how the intended legislative change would interact with existing legislation eg between the Commonwealth and the States, or with existing provisions within an Act.
Any potential areas of ambiguity need to be addressed in depth.
Any recommendations would arise logically from your discussion and develop the conclusion of your discussion.
The sub-headings would reflect this approach.
If you need more help, drop in to see a Learning Skills Adviser at the Research & Learning Point on Level 1 of the Law Library.
Suggestions for an in-house research memorandum (Note: THERE IS NO ONE 'RIGHT' STYLE)
There should be a file number (usually on the interview record or file note) so that all records on this case are kept together. Use this number at the start.
This can also cover the context and background. It sets out: The main issues AND The main areas under dispute or those that require most analytical depth and discussion, especially if the research indicates this is a contentious area of law. This should suffice to provide enough context for the reader. This section may include the main recommendation.
Recipient: Sender: Date: Re:
You may then have
In practice there would probably be a short section outlining the main facts of the case. If you decide to do this in an assignment, try to avoid going into too much detail, especially for relevant facts which will be used in the main discussion.
(ie short for ‘Regarding’ which would be the client or organisation concerned in the legal matter)
or, if necessary: Context or background – be brief!
Your headings will usually be:
How is a
This is a general guide only, always check with your unit guide or lecturer. Brought to you by Monash University Library. Last updated by the Law Library 2016.
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