Writing the Memo

WRITING AN OFFICE MEMORANDUM If you appointment as a paralegal or law agent afterwards your aboriginal or additional year of law school, you will best adequate absorb some of your time researching and autograph cold memoranda, or interoffice memos. Typically, an advocate asks you to accommodate a astute assay of the law as it applies to the facts of a client’s case. The purpose is to acquaint – not persuade. Although you should bethink which cessation favors your client, additionally accumulate in apperception that you will represent the applicant best finer by actuality cold and realistic. The announcement ability be apprehend abounding times – possibly, over a aeon of months or years by several altered attorneys, including the writer, who may use it as a ability continued afterwards it is drafted. The advocate will use the admonition independent in the announcement to admonish the applicant and may use it to adapt a certificate that will ultimately be filed in court. For example, a accomplice may be allurement you whether a accurate applicant has a accurate acknowledged claim. If you accomplish that the acknowledgment is “yes,” again this will apparently about-face into a lawsuit. At that point, some genitalia of the announcement may be congenital back the complaint is drafted. The announcement ability me consulted a third time back the advocate responds to a motion to dismiss; a fourth time while drafting interrogatories; a fifth time afore authoritative a motion for arbitrary judgment; a sixth time afore trial; and a seventh during an appeal; and so on. PARTS OF MEMO[1] 1. A announcement branch 2. The Affair (sometimes alleged Catechism Presented) states the question(s) that the announcement resolves. The Affair additionally itemizes the few facts that you adumbrate to be acute to the answer. (Such as biking costs to out-of-state, befitting adolescent out of danger, and agency of crime). The clairvoyant should accept the catechism afterwards accepting to accredit to the facts. 3. Abrupt Acknowledgment (sometimes alleged Conclusion) states the writer’s anticipation and summarizes concisely why it is adequate to happen. Some writers activate with a absolute acknowledgment such as “yes” or “probably not. ” Our book says that they do not adopt this. Sometimes this is applicant or accomplice driven. Also, some questions accommodate themselves to answers such as “yes” or “no. ” Allusion to absolute facts and rules. Do not omit key facts. Activate by aloof re-stating your affair as a allegorical sentence. Do not omit the reasoning. Do not accommodate commendation to ascendancy or appliance of accordant law. Abounding attorneys alone apprehend this part. 4. Facts set out the facts on which the anticipation is based. 5. Altercation is the bigger and best circuitous allotment of memo. It proves the cessation set out in abrupt answer. If the altercation is awful abundant or analyzes several issues, it should be burst bottomward into subheadings. Actuality is what the announcement will attending like and added admonition on anniversary section. MEMORANDUM TO:Senior Accomplice [Please block-indent so that the admonition curve up, as demonstrated] FROM:Your Name DATE:(date appointment is submitted) RE:(A abridged characterization for the affair considered: acknowledgment the parties; your abutting will book your Announcement by names and account of action--and, perhaps, by jurisdiction) The able architecture is consistently double-spaced. Do not double-double amplitude amid sections. Plain old, approved double-space is sufficient. FACTS Here, recite all actual facts, usually in archival order. A "material" actuality is a "dispositive" fact, or one aloft which the aftereffect will depend. It is a actuality that will affect the aftereffect in one way or another. Please accommodate all actual procedural facts as able-bodied as all actual absolute facts. This agency that it is capital to accommodate all accordant times, dates, and places. You should activate with an "overview" book that sets the abounding ambience and begins to call the botheration presented. Please assay your account and as abounding samples as accessible to accept both the ambit and ambit of what is adequate as able practice. Bethink your role Watch for the addiction to try to “prove” article by the way you acquaint the story. NO LEGAL ANALYSIS! 1) USE NEUTRAL LANGUAGE AND OBJECTIVE CHARACTERIZATIONS. Rather than autograph “the D was dispatch through the academy zone,” abode “the D was traveling 50 MPH through the academy zone. Rather than autograph “The D atrociously exhausted the victim,” abode “The D addled the P on the head, consistent in a cut over his larboard eye. ” 2) Accommodate abortive and favorable facts. QUESTION PRESENTED Phrased as a catechism and catastrophe with a catechism mark, accompaniment the specific affair or issues you will address. One adjustment is to use the technique: under? (describe the law); does? (state the issue); what? (give the accurately accordant or "dispositive" facts). Some affairs use the frequently apparent appearance of: “Whether . . . .” As always, altercate with your assistant to see which he or she prefers. But whatever the method, the afterward admonition applies: • Should be abridged distinct sentences that accommodate accordant facts and accepted propositions of law. • Don’t say, “Whether a niece can balance for behindhand blow of affecting distress,” back you can say, “Whether, beneath Iowa law, a niece who assemblage the after-effects of an auto blow involving her uncle from a block abroad can balance for behindhand blow of affecting ache back she observes his astringent injuries aloft accession at the scene. ” BRIEF ANSWER You phrased (or asked) a catechism in the area above. Acknowledgment it here: "Yes. " "No. "Probably not. " Use a period. Your Abrupt Acknowledgment follows the aforementioned blueprint and arrangement as your Catechism Presented. It answers the questions "under? does? what? " except, the Abrupt Acknowledgment should accommodate a abrupt account of your affidavit alpha with the chat "because. " DISCUSSION The affection of a Memorandum, this area asks you to explain the law and explain the facts. Getting it "right" will booty time. Be patient. Your ambition is to "synthesize" the cases and abstract a accepted aphorism of law. To do this, you will charge to assay the accepted elements that acquiesce you to assay and altercate several cases at once. A accepted mistake, acknowledged writers frequently appoint in "listing behavior. " They amusement anniversary case apart and sequentially, alpha anniversary branch with "In"--for example, "In Callow v. Thomas" or "In Brown v. Brown. " Looking bottomward a accounting page, the advocate will see a ladder-like effect, the "in-ladder," area anniversary afterwards branch begins with the chat "in" followed by a case title. About "listing behavior" culminates in "dump-trucking" back the advocate saves up and "dumps" all the acknowledged assay into the aftermost paragraph. In addition, attorneys will frequently "front-load," binding all the acknowledged rules of law into the actual aboriginal paragraph. To abstain these pitfalls, activate your altercation with a accepted overview in a apriorism or “roadmap” paragraph. Your apriorism branch is the aboriginal branch in the Announcement – and the aboriginal branch in a Altercation section. Consistently activate your apriorism branch with a book to anticipate--and announce--your ultimate conclusion. Acquaint the clairvoyant area you are headed and be a tour-guide to your altercation or analysis. Then, demography one point at a time, abode a apriorism book that answers the questions of "what-is-your-point? of this accurate paragraph. Next, set alternating the acknowledged Aphorism that applies. Accommodate the able citation. Next, Assay (explain) what the law or acknowledged aphorism means. Next, Assay (explain) how the accordant facts fit (or do not fit) the acknowledged or absolute standard. Finally, Accomplish anniversary branch with a summarizing account and anniversary sub-issue with a specific sub-issue summary. Sometimes, this adjustment is referred to as a aberration of the acronym: IRAC. Alternative acknowledged autograph advisers accept some alternative acronym such as REAAC or FIRAC. Still, others artlessly accredit to it as the 5-step process. Accumulate in ind that these are all “formulas” that acknowledged autograph professionals are application to acquaint you to presenting a acknowledged argument. Ultimately, you will use a appearance or blueprint that works best for your accurate argument. But around every aspect of every acknowledged altercation charge accommodate a 1) Account of Aphorism or Applicable Law; 2) Assay of the law and how it Applies to your accordant facts; and 3) a Cessation on anniversary of these sub-issues. Similarly, back a altercation requires several paragraphs, the biographer may not carbon the exact IRAC anatomy aural anniversary and every paragraph, but may crave several paragraphs to advance absolutely the abounding set. As always, apperceive your admirers and allocution about the adjustment of acknowledged assay that your professor, or in the future, your employer, prefers. And bethink that acquirements how to amalgamate statutes, cases, and accessory sources and again presenting them in a clear, concise, and analytic abode takes time and practice. A FEW IDEAS ABOUT WRITING — MEMORANDA[2] Abounding students, abutting announcement autograph for the aboriginal time, are about borderline of how to proceed. We accept put calm a few tips for aboriginal (and additional and third) time announcement writers that we achievement will be helpful. Note: No distinct set of guidelines could possibly abode all the affairs accompanying to announcement writing. If you accept questions about a accurate assignment, be abiding to analysis with your professor. 1. Find the test(s). In allotment a memorandum, advisers are about evaluating you on parsing a accurate statute or test. In alternative words, they appetite you to use alternative cases to explain how your case either does or does not amuse a analysis laid out in a case or a statute. For example, let’s say your case involves a niece (Mary) who witnessed her uncle (Jack) actuality afflicted in an auto accident. Mary wants to accompany clothing for behindhand blow of affecting ache as a aftereffect of witnessing that accident. In Burger v. McDonald, the Supreme Cloister of Iowa laid out a three allotment analysis to actuate whether a bystander’s abrasion was analytic accountable and, thus, accurately actionable: 1. Whether the eyewitness was amid abreast the accident. 2. Whether the abrasion resulted from acoustic and ancillary acknowledgment of the accident, as adjoin to audition about it from others afterwards its occurrence. 3. Whether the eyewitness and the victim were carefully related. NOTE: If the announcement involves added than one issue, your announcement may absorb added than one test. 2. Use the analysis as your outline. Tests appear in two parts, or three (as above), about with subsections. Ideal for an outline. Use the aloft genitalia of the analysis as your aloft points, the subparts as sub-sections. Branch Anatomy 3. Activate paragraphs with acknowledging propositions that alongside the test. In the aloft example, your aboriginal book should say article like: “Mary was amid abreast the arena of her uncle’s accident, acceptable the aboriginal allotment of the Burger test. ” 4. Support your acknowledging propositions. All propositions of a acknowledged attributes charge accept acknowledged support. Area is your ascendancy for your proposition? Cite it. For example: “See Burger, 606 N. W. 2d at 321 (bystander charge be amid abreast blow to balance for behindhand blow of affecting distress). ” 5. Altercate the facts of your support. What happened in the case you aloof cited? Explain in a abridged and accordant way. For example: “In Burger, the cloister captivated that a mother who witnessed an blow on the artery from the advanced aperture of her abode was amid abreast the arena of an accident. 6. Altercate the accordant facts of your case. Point to the facts that are agnate to the facts of the ascendancy you’ve aloof discussed. For example, you could abide from aloft as follows: “Mary was continuing a block from the accident, heard the crash, and saw her uncle actuality pulled, bleeding, from the car. ” 7. Analogize/Conclude. What abstracts do you anticipate the cloister will draw from the affinity amid your facts and the facts of your authority? For example: “Although Mary did not see the accident, she was abutting abundant to apprehend it and attestant her uncle actuality pulled from the car. Thus, a cloister will adequate accomplish that she was amid abreast the accident. ” Alternative Branch Anatomy 8. Altercate alternative accordant authority. Already you’ve opened the antecedent branch with your acknowledging proposition, your consecutive paragraphs can altercate the facts of alternative accordant cases afterwards repeating the hypothesis as your aperture sentence. For example, you could activate the abutting paragraph: “In Cameron v. Jones, the Cloister of Appeals captivated that a mother who was twenty-five anxiety abroad from her adolescent back she heard a metal carve abatement on him was amid abreast the arena of the accident. 9. Discuss adverse authority. Are there cases that go adjoin your position (or the position the partner/judge/etc. would like you to hold)? Accession consecutive branch could accessible with: “But, in Alfred v. Stern, the cloister captivated that a ancestor did not accept a accurate account of activity for behindhand blow of affecting distress. ” Again chase accomplish 5, 6, and 7, above, except this time, back concluding, acquaint the clairvoyant why the cloister won’t chase or accord abundant weight to this adverse ascendancy (e. g. , the facts are different). 10. Move on to the abutting allotment of the test. Chase accomplish 3-9 aloft for the abutting area of your test. Remember, a announcement additionally includes issues presented, a abrupt acknowledgment (which usually follows the issues presented), and a account of facts. These are about best accounting afterwards you’ve accounting the anatomy of the memorandum, back you’ll accept a bigger abstraction of the issues already you’ve tackled the botheration (though a acting abstract ability advice to get you started). Actuality is a account for those anterior sections of an appointment memorandum: Branch 1. Accept you included the name of the requesting advocate (or professor), your name, the date, the client’s name, and a byword anecdotic the accurate acknowledged amount or issue? Facts 2. Accept you included all accurately cogent facts? 3. Accept you included adequate absolute context? 4. Accept you included any aloft affecting facts? 5. Accept you abhorred including altercation of acknowledged authority? 6. Accept you abhorred “arguing” the facts or cartoon acknowledged conclusions? 7. Accept you articular the applicant and the client’s bearings at the alpha of the Actuality Statement? 8. Accept you called an adapted alignment (chronological, topical) for the facts? 9. Accept you maintained aloof accent and cold characterizations? 10. Have you included both favorable and abortive facts? Catechism Presented 11. Accept you declared the acknowledged catechism and the cogent facts? 12. Accept you edited to accomplish one clear sentence? 13. Accept you maintained an cold perspective? Abrupt Acknowledgment 14. Accept you declared the acknowledgment in the aboriginal several words? 15. Accept you included a account of the rule? 16. Accept you declared a arbitrary of the acumen arch to the answer? 17. Accept you kept the BA to a best of one-third to one-half a double-spaced page? 18. Accept you taken a position, alike if you are not sure? ----------------------- 1] Be abiding to accumulate in apperception that an appointment announcement is an centralized certificate for law firms; therefore, anniversary accurate abutting is adequate to accept a adopted format. For example, the abutting may use altered words for altered sections title, may adjustment sections abnormally than declared here, or it may accommodate alternative sections not declared in this manual. If your clairvoyant (whether it be your assistant or your employer) has a adopted format, acutely use it. If you are not abiding if your clairvoyant has a accurate preference, again ask! [2] Abounding of these tips were originally created by Autograph Ability Center, University of Iowa College of Law.

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