October 4, 2015

What to Expect on Your First 1L Legal Memo


I knew the actual writing part of this would be easy, but coming up with the information I needed to write the memo has been more time consuming than I'd like.This is even more boring than reading the cases in my books because it isn't slimmed down to just the main points so I have to read all of the non-relevant parts to find out what is relevant. Just overall time consuming. I tried shortcutting it through finding a brief online but now I know that only the major cases are briefed for you. This makes sense because theres hundreds of thousands of them, but I thought it was worth a shot. 

What goes in a memo

If you haven't had this drilled into your head yet, here are some basic components of the body of a memo. Just remember that there's more that goes into a memo than just the body, so make sure you get the style right.
make sure to make memos informative and objective, but not persuasive 

    • give the client’s issue 
    • identify the legally relevant facts of the case
    • cite properly
    • give holding
    • what will happen if our court will apply this law to our case
    • what the opposing council probably will argue 


It ended up taking me about 3 hours to do the pre-writing and writing, probably because I'm a perfectionist. As I read all three cases, I took notes over pretty much every relevant rule that each case had. Then I made a list of which rules my client should use and which rules her opponent could use. Then I made a sublist under these of rebuttals for the other side. Then I made a outline of the memo with my talking points in order. Finally I expanded my outline into the actual memo.

Final Thoughts

The hardest part was discussing both sides of four cases, because I kept having to look at what I'd already written to make sure that I wasn't contradicting myself and was being consistent. Also time consuming was making sure that I was tying in my cases in a relevant, and clear way. 


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