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LEGAL MEMORANDUM BASIC MEMORANDUM FORMAT
BASIC MEMORANDUM FORMAT • HEADING/CAPTION–To, From, Date, “Re: ”Office File No. , Subject, etc.
BASIC MEMORANDUM FORMAT • ISSUE Legal question analyzed– Includes law at issue and key facts
BASIC MEMORANDUM FORMAT • STATEMENT OF FACTS A brief statement of the background and key facts. Should be in a logical chronology starting with introducing the “characters” and ending with the current legal situation.
BASIC MEMORANDUM FORMAT • INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH (short answer) One or two paragraphs that include the following components: General Rule (If a statute, quote the statute in pertinent part then paraphrase) • Elaborations or Exceptions • Application of Rule to Facts (may be in a second paragraph) • Conclusion/Prediction for Litigation •
BASIC MEMORANDUM FORMAT • CASE LAW/SYNTHESIS PORTION. • Case law that illustrates the application of the rule of law to the facts, generally, “holding, facts, rationale, but cases may be grouped into a single paragraph depending on topic or length of paper.
BASIC MEMORANDUM FORMAT • ANALYSIS–APPLICATION How the rule of law, principle, or test from the court case applies to the client’s case. • Consists of: • Transition • Initial repetition of the general rule. • Repetition of the rule applied (generally fact specific and from previous rationale) • Factual analogy made.
BASIC MEMORANDUM FORMAT • COUNTERANALYSIS Counterargument(s) to the position taken in the analysis; should follow the same format as analysis – transition, “rule of law, ” analogy to the rule of law. There should be a separate paragraph for each “counterargument. ”
BASIC MEMORANDUM FORMAT • REFUTATION One or more responses to the counterargument(s) posed; should follow the same format as analysis – transition, “rule of law, ” analogy to the rule of law. There should be a separate paragraph for each “refutation” if space allows.
BASIC MEMORANDUM FORMAT • CONCLUSION Summary of the entire memo– Review the general law and the major arguments, counterarguments, and refutations. Should be similar to the intro paragraph(s) but should “advise” as to next steps.