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The Secret to Writing the Perfect Legal Memo

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Hint: there are 6 essential steps.

In the practice of law, not all legal memoranda are created equal.

Some are done the right way by using six essential elements to provide insightful case analysis and strategy. Others are done the wrong way and are usually a waste of time and money.

“The legal memo is an objective memorandum that provides you the opportunity to review and research relevant case law, analyze the facts under that law, and impartially assess the potential outcome of a matter,” according to Bloomberg Law. “The legal memo is an assignment that law firm associates are frequently asked to provide to senior attorneys. Far too often, however, the assigning attorney takes one look at the result and replies, ‘I knew this already.’ To prevent this outcome, it’s important to write a legal memo with sufficient understanding of audience, scope, purpose, and format.”

Read “Master the Legal Memo Format” from Bloomberg Law.

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(The following information is from Bloomberg Law):

  1. Heading or caption. This will include the author and recipient’s names, the submission date, and the memo topic.
  2. Question presented. “A brief one-sentence statement that defines how the law applies to the legal question at hand, and the jurisdiction where the matter will be decided,” says Bloomberg Law. “The question presented is specific and impartial and doesn’t assume a legal conclusion.”
  3. Brief answer. “A quick-hit legal prediction to the question presented, based on a short (four to five sentences) explanation that references relevant law and facts.”
  4. Statement of facts. From Bloomberg: “A concise, impartial statement of the facts that captures the heart of the legal matter, as well as current and past legal proceedings related to the issue. The facts can be chronological or grouped thematically, whichever format presents the facts in the clearest manner.”
  5. Discussion. “Restates the main facts and delineates the overarching legal rule. Several paragraphs outline the various legal topics to be addressed in the case and provide an analysis of the legal issues, usually ordered in subsections.”
  6. Conclusion. This is the section the recipient will likely read first. “It predicts how the court will apply the law, and how confident you are in your prediction based on the data. With an impartial advisory tone, you identify next steps and propose a legal strategy to proceed.”

SOURCE: Master the Legal Memo Format | Bloomberg Law

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