How To Write A Legal Analysis Memorandum

A legal analysis memorandum is a written document that discusses and evaluates an issue in the context of a specific case or case. 

It typically includes an introduction, analysis of the pertinent facts, application of the law to these facts, and any resulting conclusions or recommendations for further action. A legal analysis memorandum is typically used by judges and attorneys as an aid in making decisions about cases before them.

How To Write A Legal Analysis Memorandum – YouTube
Key Takeaways
1. Understand the purpose and audience of the memorandum.
2. Clearly state the legal issue and relevant facts.
3. Provide a concise summary of applicable legal principles.
4. Analyze the facts in relation to the relevant law.
5. Present your conclusions and recommendations logically.
6. Use headings, bullet points, and formatting for clarity.
7. Edit and proofread thoroughly for accuracy and coherence.
8. Consider the memorandum’s persuasive and argumentative aspects.
9. Tailor your writing style to your intended audience.
10. Refer to relevant precedents and case law for support.
11. Practice and refine your legal writing skills over time.
12. Seek feedback and learn from experienced legal writers.
13. Stay updated on legal research and writing best practices.

Identify The Issue

The first step in writing a legal analysis memorandum is to identify the issue. The issue is the question that needs to be answered, and it should focus on a specific problem or situation.

The issue should be narrow and specific; it should not address any broader concerns outside of this particular situation. For example, an attorney could not write about whether it’s legal for minors under age 18 to drive cars without getting into other factors such as whether they are responsible enough or mature enough to handle driving responsibly.

If you want your analysis memo to be persuasive, make sure that your scope is narrowed down even further by framing it in terms of the relevant law. For example: “Does prohibit minors from driving before turning 18 violate their right under state law?”

Building a strong legal argument is essential in crafting a persuasive legal memorandum. Learn valuable insights and techniques in our guide on writing a logical effective legal argument that will help you construct compelling legal analyses.

Assess Jurisdiction

Before you begin your analysis, you need to make sure that the subject matter of your memorandum falls within the scope of federal jurisdiction. You may need to research this issue to determine whether or not it does. 

Federal courts have only limited powers and cannot hear cases involving purely state law issues. They also can’t hear cases from state courts unless those cases involve certain rights established by federal law (for example, rights under the First Amendment).

Federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over disputes between citizens of different states and between citizens of a foreign country and citizens or residents of any state (28 U.S.C § 1331). In addition, they have exclusive jurisdiction over any civil action against Native American tribes or tribal organizations by nonmembers when:

  • The suit involves a claim arising out of a relationship between the tribe or organization and an Indian individual within its territory; or
  • The defendant is an Indian tribe; or
  • The claims arise out of activities conducted on tribal land (28 U.S., § 1331(a)).

Conduct A Secondary Source Search

A secondary source search is an investigation or inquiry that relies on information from another party, as opposed to seeking out sources yourself. In other words, you’re going to find out what others have said about your topic and how they’ve addressed it in their work. 

This can include both online searches and visits to the library and everything in between! The goal is just to gather more information about what has already been written on the topic at hand.

Effective legal writing requires attention to detail and avoiding common mistakes. Explore the top 15 most common legal writing mistakes and their solutions to enhance the quality and clarity of your legal documents.

Brief Cases And Relevant Statutes

In addition to the case law, statutes, and regulations you’ve accumulated in your research, it is also important to look at how judges have interpreted those laws. To this end, you should review cases in which a similar fact pattern has been presented and the court’s ruling on the matter. You can use these cases as a precedent for your analysis.

You should also look at how other statutes have been interpreted by courts around the country. If one statute has been held up in court as being of great importance or significance, you will want to include that information in your memorandum so as not to miss an opportunity for argumentation later on. 

Similarly, if there are any instances where a particular interpretation was cited as being incorrect or unsupportable by another ruling body (a state supreme court ruling or an administrative agency), this information can be useful if included with citations when appropriate.

Formulate A Rule Statement

The rule statement is the beginning of your analysis. It’s a brief sentence or two that explains what type of legal issue you’re dealing with, and which side has the burden of proof. (If you’re not sure what I mean by “burden,” please read this.)

Once you’ve done all your research, it’s time to formulate a rule statement. 

You should have already decided what type of legal analysis memo you’re writing: if it’s an argumentative memo, then there will be two sides; if it’s persuasive, then only one side will be presented; and if it’s persuasive but includes multiple perspectives, then both sides will probably be included but placed in separate sections.

Once you know who has the burden of proof and whether or not those people represent an organization you can begin writing an effective rule statement.

Outline Your Case Analysis

State the facts: You need to state the facts of your case, using a numbered or bulleted list if possible. You can also use paragraph breaks to separate each fact.

State the rule: The rule is another way of saying “the law” in this context, so you need to state what it is. In some cases, you may have multiple rules that apply; in others, there might only be one.

State your analysis: You need to look at those facts and determine how they fit into the rule(s) above them before making any recommendations on how they should be applied in practice this is what we mean by analysis! This can sometimes feel like guesswork because you haven’t seen all of the evidence yet (but worry not; we’ll cover that below).

Make your recommendation(s): If there are several possible ways for applying a rule according to its wording, then make clear which option you prefer based on other factors like precedent or policy considerations that aren’t necessarily addressed by existing case law.

Crafting legal briefs that are concise and respectful of judges’ time is crucial. Discover strategies to write legal briefs that don’t annoy judges while effectively presenting your case in a manner that facilitates understanding.

State Outside Considerations That May Impact The Resolution Of The Issue Under Consideration

You should state outside considerations that may impact the resolution of the issue under consideration. These are factors that are not directly related to the issue at hand, but they can have an indirect effect on it. 

For example, if you are writing an analysis on whether or not a business partnership should enter into a contract with another company (the main question).

But you also want to mention that another business partnership has been sued by its partners for fraud and bribery about some real estate deals in which one partner was involved, this is an outside consideration.

If you want to discuss something like this as an outside consideration in your memorandum, then you must be sure never to say “I believe” or “I think” when describing these facts. Instead, use language like “it is likely true that” or “there is good reason to believe that”

Apply The Facts To The Rule Statement Or Rule Statements

Now that you have your rule statement(s), apply the facts to the rule statements. Make sure that the facts are relevant to the issue under consideration. Make sure they are accurate and make sure they are relevant to your legal analysis.

When it comes to legal writing, mastering the art of creating effective memoranda is essential. Dive into our guide on writing a brief or any legal document to gain valuable insights into constructing clear, coherent, and impactful legal communications.

Identify Any Weaknesses In The Research And Analysis

When preparing a memorandum, you will likely be tasked with identifying any weaknesses in the research and analysis. 

This task can be difficult because weaknesses in research and analysis are often caused by a lack of information. For example, if you don’t have enough evidence to support your arguments, or if you don’t understand how to calculate an average value for some data points, then it is likely that your argument will not be as strong as it could have been otherwise.

It’s important to note that this step is different from other parts of the memorandum because it requires you to identify weaknesses instead of strengths at this point (although these two concepts may overlap).

Summarize Your Conclusion And Provide Recommendations For Further Action

Conclude your analysis with a concise summary of the key points you have made throughout the memorandum. Be sure to include any recommendations for further action.

Provide a brief overview of the recommendations, explaining them briefly but thoroughly enough that anyone reading this section will know what they are. 

You may also want to include an explanation of why these recommendations should be implemented by those responsible for doing so, so they can make an informed decision about whether or not they agree with them. 

Make sure that whatever you write here provides sufficient context without being overly lengthy or complicated in its wording or phrasing; if possible, try using simple language as much as possible so that even someone who does not have extensive legal experience can understand what’s being said here (but don’t sacrifice clarity).

Give a brief overview of the next steps; this isn’t something that needs much detail since it could vary from case to case depending on what happens during negotiations between parties involved in litigation (if applicable), but still, give enough information so people know where things stand now before moving forward into future situations involving this topic/issue/case, etc.

Writing legal memoranda efficiently is a valuable skill for legal professionals. Learn how to produce well-structured memoranda in a limited timeframe with our tips from writing a legal memorandum in 15 minutes that can help streamline your workflow and enhance your productivity.


I hope this post has been helpful to you, and that you’re excited to write your legal analysis memorandum. It’s a great way to practice writing, and it also helps you learn more about the law and what makes good legal analysis. If there are any topics I didn’t cover or if anything is unclear, please feel free to ask me questions in the comments!

Further Reading

How to Write a Legal Memorandum for Dummies: Discover comprehensive insights and step-by-step guidance on crafting effective legal memoranda, even if you’re new to the process.

Structure of an Objective Legal Memo: Learn about the essential components and proper structure of an objective legal memorandum to ensure your documents are well-organized and impactful.

Legal Writing – Memorandum: Explore a detailed resource from CUNY School of Law on writing legal memoranda, covering various aspects to help you enhance your legal writing skills.

And here’s the “FAQs” section with semantic-based questions and answers:


What is the key to writing an effective legal memorandum?

An effective legal memorandum is built upon thorough research, clear analysis, and concise presentation of legal issues and arguments.

How should I structure an objective legal memo?

An objective legal memo typically follows a structured format, including sections for issue, rule, analysis, conclusion, and sometimes a discussion or application of counterarguments.

Are there resources available for beginners learning how to write legal memoranda?

Absolutely, resources like “How to Write a Legal Memorandum for Dummies” provide comprehensive guidance for beginners looking to develop their legal writing skills.

What role does research play in writing a legal memorandum?

Research is crucial in supporting your legal analysis and providing relevant precedents and case law to strengthen your arguments and conclusions.

How can I ensure my legal memorandum is well-organized and impactful?

Structuring your legal memorandum according to established formats, such as the structure of an objective legal memo, ensures your document is organized and your points are presented logically, leading to a more impactful communication of legal issues.