How To Write A Legal Memorandum

Memoranda can be a useful tool for you to learn about the law and prepare for practice. They are also useful in practice because they help you to organize your thoughts and build on existing knowledge. 

Memoranda may be given as assignments or used as a vehicle for applying your legal knowledge to specific situations. In this article, we look at some tips for writing effective legal memorandums, including how to read an assignment carefully, research the law thoroughly, state your position clearly and concisely, write an effective introduction and conclusion, etc.

How to Draft a Memorandum of Law – YouTube
1. Understand the Purpose of the Memorandum
2. Clearly Define the Legal Issues
3. Summarize the Relevant Facts
4. Analyze Applicable Legal Principles
5. Apply the Law to the Given Facts
6. Present a Well-Structured Conclusion
7. Proofread and Edit for Clarity and Precision
8. Maintain a Professional Writing Tone
9. Ensure Proper Citation of Legal Authorities
10. Follow a Consistent and Clear Writing Style

Read The Assignment Or Question Posed Carefully

Read the assignment carefully. Take a moment to make sure you understand what is being asked, and if necessary, ask for clarification.

Ask for more time if necessary. Most professors are more than willing to give an extension of time if a student has fallen behind but is working hard to catch up. This also gives you another opportunity to ask questions about the assignment or clarification on your part.

Ask for help from others in your class who may have had similar classes before and may be able to offer some insight into how they approached similar assignments in their classes with which yours might share similarities (or differences).

Legal research is an essential skill for student attorneys. To enhance your research abilities, explore our comprehensive legal research guides and gain insights into effective research strategies and resources.

Research The Issue Thoroughly

The first step to writing a legal memorandum is to research the issue thoroughly. To do this, you need to look at all of the facts of the case and make sure that they are accurate. 

Then you need to look at any applicable laws and legal doctrines that may apply in this situation. You should also consider looking at relevant cases and treatises that deal with similar issues, as well as articles on legal blogs or other websites, devoted entirely to the law (e.g., FindLaw).

Find And Analyze The Relevant Law

Once you have decided on the question you want to address, you need to take a look at the relevant law. There are two main ways in which this can be done:

  • Researching case law
  • Researching statutes and regulations

For example, if your client is charged with murder and has been arrested under a warrant of arrest, there will be case law from other similar cases that discuss whether or not police are required to read Miranda warnings before arresting someone if he or she does not appear to be armed. 

However, there may also be case law that addresses whether police must read Miranda warnings when they have reasonable suspicion that a suspect poses an immediate threat to himself or others. If so, then these cases would be relevant as well because they help determine what kind of evidence must be adduced before issuing such a warrant (if any). 

Similarly, if no such precedent exists in related areas like search warrants or traffic stops then this would also come into play depending on how broad your research has been thus far. 

Since it would show how many times similar situations have occurred over time and how courts responded when dealing with them under different circumstances than those present here today.

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Determine The Issues to Be Addressed

  • Determine the issues to be addressed.
  • Determine the legal standard of review, which is the level at which a court will review a decision before concluding whether or not it was correct. The standard of review will consist of one or more factors, including:

a) Whether there are any technical errors in how the issue was brought before the court (for example, if a person has filed for bankruptcy and then taken out loans that would prevent them from doing so).

b) Whether there were procedural irregularities during litigation (for example, if someone did not give notice of their intention to appeal).

c) Whether there are relevant facts that have been overlooked by those who made decisions about the case (for example, if a person lost an appeal because they were unaware that they had been sued).

d) Whether decision makers made reasonable inferences based on available information.*3

Develop A Thesis Statement

The next thing you need to do is develop a thesis statement. Your thesis statement is the main idea of your paper, so it should be clear and specific. It should also be limited to one idea; don’t try to write multiple separate arguments in your memo because that can get confusing for the reader.

When developing your thesis statement, consider whether it could be supported by evidence or if some holes in it would need further support from other sources or arguments. Once you have developed a good thesis statement and tested it for clarity and specificity, write the rest of the memo around this topic.

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Write The Statement Of Facts

This is where you will provide a summary of what happened and describe what was done when it was done and to whom it was done. Be sure to include all relevant facts that support your argument, as well as those that do not support your argument (if any). 

Make sure your statement does not include irrelevant facts or issues that have already been decided by another court or tribunal.

State The Applicable Standard Of Review

You should state the applicable standard of review. This is a general principle that guides how courts make decisions in cases like yours. For example, if you’re writing about whether your client was improperly terminated from employment, then you would likely be applying the “substantial evidence” standard of review. 

If your question asks about whether you should be allowed to bring an action for breach of contract against your client’s former employer, then it might apply the “clear and convincing evidence” standard (or perhaps even something else).

You may also need to explain how that standard applies to your facts. For example, The court held that there was insufficient evidence because three witnesses testified that my client had been on time each day during his employment, while only two testified otherwise. 

An employee cannot legally be forced into agreeing to take part in an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment unless he or she has received actual notice of such requirement.”

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Apply The Standard To The Facts From Step 5

Now that you’ve established the standard of review and your facts, apply them to one another.

Take a look at your facts and ask yourself: Are these facts relevant to the legal question? Do they meet the standard of review? If so, what does that mean for the legal question itself? These questions might seem obvious but it’s easy for a student to make an error here. 

You want your memorandum to be exceptionally clear about how its presentation of facts relates back to its analysis of law.

State A Conclusion Clearly, Supported By A Discussion Of The Relevant Law

For the conclusion, you should restate the analysis and link it back to the relevant law. A simple way to do this is by providing a statement of what happened and how it was decided, followed by an explanation for why that decision was correct under applicable law.

For example: “The Court held that Defendant’s actions were wrongful because he engaged in a civil conspiracy with Plaintiff’s former employer and had no legitimate purpose or motive for entering into its agreement with Plaintiff [citation]. The Court, therefore, found that Defendant violated his duty of loyalty owed to his employer [citation] and awarded damages [citation].”

Conclude With A Concise Summary Of Your Answer To The Legal Question(S)

Conclude with a concise summary of your answer to the legal question(s). In other words, state the issue clearly and summarize your reasoning. Then, state your conclusion in one simple sentence: “In light of these facts and applicable law, I conclude that X is true.”

A closing sentence may also be used for additional emphasis: “Therefore, I conclude that X is true.”

Proofread For Grammar, Mechanics, And Spelling Mistakes

  • Proofread for grammar, mechanics, and spelling mistakes.
  • Use a spell checker.
  • Read your work aloud. It’s amazing how many errors you can catch just by reading it through to yourself in a normal voice!

Ask a colleague to read your memo or letter before you send it out for review by the legal department or client. You might also ask someone who does not work at your firm but is familiar with the standards of good writing (like a professor or editor) to proofread your memos as well. 

This is especially important if you are working on an important project where people may be looking closely at what you write and whether they can trust what they read from you in future projects as well!

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Memorandum Writing Is An Important Skill That You Can Use In Legal Practice Today

Memo writing is an important skill that you can use in legal practice today. It is a way to communicate your ideas clearly and concisely, effectively, and persuasively. It is a way of expressing yourself in written form without being bound by the rules of formal writing.

Memos have been used for communication since the time of Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin. The first memos were used by scientists to keep track of their experiments and findings during World War II. Since then, they have become an integral part of business communication as well as legal practices around the world.


Memorandum writing is an important skill that you can use in legal practice today. You should always use the best of your abilities when writing a Memorandum, and make sure that it is at least as good as the examples given in this blog post.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources that can provide further insights into writing legal memoranda:

Master the Legal Memo Format: Learn the essential elements and proper format for creating effective legal memoranda that communicate your arguments clearly.

Structure of an Objective Legal Memo: Dive into the structural components that make up an objective legal memo, helping you convey your legal analysis and recommendations cohesively.

How to Write a Legal Memorandum for Dummies: This guide offers straightforward advice for crafting well-organized and comprehensive legal memoranda, even if you’re new to the process.


What is the standard format for a legal memorandum?

The standard format of a legal memorandum typically includes a heading, a statement of the issues, a summary of the facts, a discussion of the applicable law, an analysis of how the law applies to the facts, and a conclusion.

How do I structure an objective legal memorandum?

Structuring an objective legal memorandum involves organizing the issues, facts, analysis, and conclusion in a logical sequence. Start with a clear and concise introduction, followed by a thorough analysis of each issue.

What are the key components of a legal memo’s heading?

The heading of a legal memorandum typically includes the names of the parties involved, the date, the subject matter, and the author’s name. This information provides context and identification for the document.

How can I ensure my legal memo is concise yet informative?

To strike a balance between conciseness and informativeness, focus on presenting only the essential facts and legal analysis. Avoid unnecessary details and clearly present your conclusions and recommendations.

Are there specific guidelines for citing legal authorities in a memorandum?

Yes, when citing legal authorities in a legal memorandum, use proper citation formats such as Bluebook or ALWD. Provide accurate references to cases, statutes, regulations, and other legal sources used in your analysis.