If you’re new to writing legal memoranda, you may be wondering how to write one in 15 minutes. Writing a memo is different from writing a letter or email, so it’s worth taking some time to get comfortable with the process before you start writing them. In this post, we’ll go over what makes up a memo and how long it should take to write.
We’ll also discuss why these documents are important for lawyers and non-lawyers alike and give you some tips on how to get started!
|1. Organize Your Thoughts: Outline the key points and arguments before you start writing.|
|2. Focus on Key Issues: Identify the main legal issues and address them succinctly.|
|3. Prioritize Clarity: Use clear and concise language to communicate your points effectively.|
|4. Provide Legal Analysis: Analyze the relevant laws and apply them to the facts of the case.|
|5. Summarize Findings: Sum up your conclusions and recommendations in a concise manner.|
|6. Proofread and Edit: Allocate time for proofreading and editing to ensure accuracy and coherence.|
|7. Practice Time Management: Set a timer to stay on track and allocate appropriate time to each section.|
|8. Use Templates: Utilize legal memo templates to streamline formatting and focus on content creation.|
|9. Eliminate Fluff: Remove unnecessary details and irrelevant information to maintain clarity and brevity.|
|10. Stay Organized: Create headings and subheadings to structure your memo logically and enhance readability.|
What Is A Legal Memorandum?
A legal memorandum is a document that summarizes the facts of a case. The memorandum is written to support the argument of the lawyer. It’s written to convince a judge or jury of his or her argument, and it’s supposed to persuade those who read it before they make their decision about whether your client should win their case.
A good legal memo will contain:
- A clear statement of what question you plan to answer;
- An overview of all relevant existing law;
- Your analysis and arguments as well as citations (to cases and statutes);
- A conclusion that sums up your position on this issue after reviewing all relevant law, precedent, and policy considerations
Writing a legal memorandum efficiently is essential in the legal field. If you’re aiming to write a legal memorandum quickly, our guide on writing a legal memorandum (in 15 minutes or less) can provide valuable insights to streamline your process.
The Purpose Of A Legal Memorandum
A legal memorandum is a brief written summary of an issue. It provides a concise summary of a legal problem, the relevant facts, and any applicable law. You should also include in your memo what you think the rule should be and why it should be that way. Note: This is not an introduction; it’s an answer to the question posed by the assignment or class discussion topic!
- Identify your audience (who will read this?);
- Write clearly with proper grammar and spelling;
- Be organized (numbering each point makes it easier for readers to follow);
- Use paragraphing (use periods after each paragraph);
Include citations if necessary—these are usually in parentheses or brackets following quoted material from another source; examples include [Case Name], [Section Number] ([Section Name], [Section Number]), etc.; do not use footnotes unless specifically instructed otherwise by your professor.
Subject Headings And How To Write Them
A great way to organize your memorandum is by using headings. Headings help you organize your facts, issue statement, rule or principle, and conclusion.
You should have at least five subject headings in a memorandum and they should be organized in order of importance (beginning with most important). If you are writing a legal memorandum for work or school, here are some general rules:
o The first heading should be “Background.” This is where you would put the facts about why this case was decided the way it was (if there are any).
o The second heading should be “Issue.” This is where you would write about what issue has been brought up in this case and what side of the argument each party agrees with.
For example: “To determine whether Mr. Smith can deduct his business meals from his gross income under section 1120(a)(1), we must first address whether such expenses qualify as ordinary and necessary expenses under Code Section 162(a)(1).
o The third heading should be “Discussion” or “Conclusion” depending on which one makes more sense given what needs to happen next within the text itself.
In other words, if it makes sense because there needs to be discussed then use “Discussion,” but if not then use “Conclusion” instead since there won’t need any further discussion after this point which means everything has been said already anyway so why waste time talking about things when they’ve already been discussed before?
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Facts In A Legal Memorandum
Facts are the actual events that happened. Facts are the evidence that supports your opinion, the reason for the opinion, and often the reason for the decision or change in the law.
In a legal memorandum, facts are found by reviewing cases and statutes to determine what facts have been established by those sources of authority. For example, if you’re writing about whether someone has committed malpractice against another person (the plaintiff), you would need to research the legal precedent that addresses this question before writing about it yourself.
Issue Statement In A Legal Memorandum
The issue statement is one of the most important parts of your memorandum. It’s what you will use as a reference as you write about the facts and law. While you may need to make minor changes when writing your memorandum, it should be written in a way that can easily be referenced if there are any issues with understanding or application later on.
The issue statement should include:
- A brief overview of what type of legal issue(s) are being addressed (for example, tort law or contract law).
- A summary of why this case or scenario matters—what is at stake? This may include monetary damages, government policy implications, and/or broader societal implications (if any).
- An explanation of how the court decided this particular case or scenario, including citations so that readers can see where they go for more information if necessary.
Rules/Principles/Application To Facts In A Legal Memorandum
A legal memorandum is a document that summarizes and applies the law to a particular situation. To write your memo, you must first understand what types of sections are included within it. First, there will be rules, principles, or applications to facts.
Then some conclusions are often found at the end but may also appear in other places throughout the document depending on how your professor wants you to write it.
Rules: A rule is something that cannot be broken or defied (e.g., “No one can break the law”). It is written in black and white under Roman Numerals so they can be easily referenced if needed later on in court proceedings should they arise from this case study scenario we’ve come up with just for this purpose!
Principles: A principle applies across multiple situations (e.g., “All people should have equal access rights when accessing public facilities such as parks”).
These can also go under Roman Numerals but their applicability extends beyond just one set of facts into many different scenarios around town (or country).
We typically list them separately from our rules section just so everyone knows what these two terms mean before reading further down below into Section III where I explain how each section should be formatted.”
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Conclusion Section Of A Legal Memorandum
The conclusion should be short. It is important to restate the rule, application of the rule, and facts as they were presented in your memorandum. You also need to make sure that you restate the issue regarding the subject heading by summarizing why you concluded that there was a violation or non-violation of some legal principle or statute.
Understanding the validity of contracts is fundamental in legal writing. Discover how to assess whether a contract is valid or not by referring to our guide on how to know if a contract is valid (and if it isn’t), which discusses important considerations in contract law.
When You Write A Legal Memorandum, Organize Your Issue, Facts, Conclusion, And Rule Section
A legal memorandum should be organized into three main sections: the issue, facts, and conclusion section. The issue, facts, and conclusion section should also include a separate rule section.
In your conclusion paragraph, you should summarize the facts and then state how these facts support your rule of law. The rule of law is an interpretation of legislation or case law that will guide future decisions by other lawyers and judges.
As a student pursuing a legal career, mastering writing skills is crucial. Check out our top 12 legal writing tips for students who want to succeed to improve your legal writing abilities and excel in your studies.
Being able to write a legal memorandum efficiently is an important skill for anyone who wants to practice law. If you want to be able to write a good legal memorandum, you need to understand the purpose of such a document and how it should be organized.
A good legal memorandum will include some type of issue statement followed by facts that are relevant for each rule or principle that applies
Legal Memorandum Writing Guide from CUNY School of Law: This comprehensive guide from CUNY School of Law provides valuable insights into the structure and content of legal memoranda.
Legal Memo Template by Clio: Clio offers a practical legal memo template that can help you structure your memos effectively.
Drafting a Memo in 21 Minutes by WordRake: WordRake’s blog post shares quick tips to draft a memo efficiently in a limited timeframe.
How do I start writing a legal memorandum?
Starting a legal memorandum involves understanding the issue, conducting research, and outlining your points logically.
What should I include in the introduction of a legal memo?
In the introduction, provide a concise overview of the issue, the parties involved, and the question of law.
How do I analyze legal issues in a memorandum?
Analyze legal issues by identifying relevant laws, applying them to the facts, and discussing potential outcomes.
What’s the recommended length for a legal memorandum?
Legal memos should be concise. Generally, aim for 2-5 pages, depending on the complexity of the issue.
How can I make my legal memo more persuasive?
To enhance persuasiveness, use clear language, present strong arguments, and provide supporting legal authority.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.