Format Legal Memo

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					  Organization of
 Legal Memoranda




 Outline of Closed Memo
Parts of Legal Memoranda
              Introduction to
             Office Memoranda

   Lawyers communicate legal
    analysis by letters, motions,
    appellate briefs but most
    commonly with the office memo.

   The office memo presents to a senior lawyer
    your analysis of the case at any given time.
             Office Memoranda
   Be objective as opposed to persuasive.

   Evaluate strengths and
    weaknesses of the case.

   The office memo should
    enable the senior attorney
    to emphasize the stronger
    arguments and respond to
    the counter-arguments.
Using a legal tone

   The objective tone of the memo, unlike a law
    school essay exam, should NOT convey a detached
    indifference to the outcome.

   Be an advocate for your client.

   Do not abandon a client’s cause to readily
    but instead recommend ways to overcome
    weaknesses/counter-arguments in the case.
      Remember Your Audience:

   Most attorneys will not need
    a lesson in fundamental legal
    procedure, even if that was
    part of your research.

   However, the attorney may not
    be a specialist in the field you
    are researching and thus will
    expect to receive core of
    information about the
    controlling law.
     Six Parts of an Office Memo

   Heading
   Questions Presented
   Brief Answers
   Facts
   Legal Discussion
   Conclusion
             The Six Parts of the Memo
         Serve to Accomplish the following:
   Questions Presented
       Identify the precise legal issues

   Brief Answers
       Answer the precise legal issues

   Facts Section
       Records the known facts

   Discussion Section
       Identifies and cites the important legal authorities;
       provides facts, holding and reasoning of the precedent cases;
       presents a legal analysis of the issues; and
       predicts the way a judge or jury might rule.
      The Legal Discussion Section:
                  Threshold Issues
   The order in which you discuss your questions presented
    (legal issues) depends upon the particular problem or
    issue.

   Threshold questions always
     come first because their
     application dictates
     whether analysis of other
     legal rules are necessary.
               Ordering the Issues

   For example, if a person is not an owner or
    keeper or a dog, it does not matter whether
    he or she had prior knowledge of a vicious
    propensity.

   If the problem does not involve a threshold
    question, argue your stronger issue first to
    win favor with the reader.
    Organizational Building Blocks for the Legal
      Discussion Section of the Office Memo

   ISSUE
      Draft Point-Headings

   RULES
      Use a Rule Paragraph and Road Map

   ANALYSIS/
    APPLICATION
      Use Sub-point headings or topic
       sentences and transitions
   CONCLUSION
      Integrate law/fact/reasoning in the prediction
          Structuring Your Legal Analysis:
          Organizational Building Blocks

   ISSUES
      Draft Point-Headings
               The Rule of Law
         Illinois Animal Control Act
   The Illinois Animal Control Act provides as
    follows:
       If a dog or other animal , without
        provocation, attacks or injures any
        person who is peaceably conducting
        himself in any place where he may
        lawfully be, the owner of such dog or
        other animal is liable in damages to
         such person for the full amount of the
         injury sustained.

    510 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. (West 1993)
               Point- Headings :
     In Order to Create them you must…
   Condense and translate your issues into thesis sentences
    using the format

   “prediction- “because”- reasons”

    I. The court will likely find (prediction) that Host can be classified as
    Oscar's owner within the meaning of the Animal Control Act because
    (reasons) Host provided a measure of care that only owners or
    haborers usually do.

   II. The court will likely find (prediction) that Stumble did not provoke
    Oscar within the meaning of the Animal Control Act because (reasons)
    the dog attack was disproportionate to Stumble’s conduct.

   Now insert them as point- headings in your outline (I. , II…)
    Structuring Your Legal Analysis:
    Organizational Building Blocks


   RULES
     Use Rule Paragraphs
                Remember !
   If your rule of law comes from a statute the rule
    paragraph should quote and cite the statute

   Statutory rule paragraphs, rule sentences and
    case discussions of precedent cases all go in the
    rules section.
          Continue with a “Roadmap”
   “Roadmaps” are
    introductory paragraphs
    that tell your reader
    where you are going.




    (See hand-out)
           The Road-Map Paragraph

   The Roadmap paragraph makes it easier for the
    reader to follow the progression of your legal
    analysis by setting out a description of your
    discussion.

   Usually this includes identifying for your reader
    the statutory or common law elements which
    must be proved in the order you plan to discuss
    them and identifying which are “at issue.”
                   Example
       Four elements must be proven to place liability
    on a defendant under the Illinois Animal Control
    Act. The plaintiff must first prove that an injury
    was caused by a dog owned or harbored by the
    defendant. Next, the plaintiff must prove that he
    or she did not provoke the attack but was
    peaceably conducting themselves at the time of
    the attack.
                    Example
    Finally, the plaintiff must prove that he or she had
    a legal right to be at the place where the injury
    occurred. Nelson v. Lewis, 344 N.E.2d 268, 270
    (Ill. App. Ct. 1976) . Because there is no dispute
    as to whether Stumble had a legal right to be on
    the property, this memo will address first whether
    Host is an owner and next whether Stumble
    provoked the dog under the statute.
              Rule Paragraphs
   Remember that you can and should also use
    rule sentences to explain to your reader the
    applicable law and any analytical categories.

   Also remember case discussions of the
    precedent cases goes in the rules section.
    Often they may help explain the elements of a
    statute.
    Structuring Your Legal Analysis:
    Organizational Building Blocks


   ANALYSIS/
    APPLICATION
      Use point-headings and topic
       sentences/transitions.
                Sub-Point Headings
   Sub-points headings should be used for
    complex or multi-element Point-headings.

   Assume for example, that the law stated that
    provocation could be proved by either
    physical contact with a dog or by verbal
    harassment and teasing.

   Your Sub-Point heading might look like this:
                       Sub-Point Headings
   I. The court will likely find that Host can be classified as
    Oscar's owner within the meaning of the Animal Control
    Act because Host provided a measure of care that only
    owners or haborers usually do.

   II. The court will likely find that Stumble did not provoke
    Oscar within the meaning of the Animal Control Act
    because the dog attack was disproportionate to Stumble’s
    conduct.

       A. Stumble did not provoke Oscar by means of physical contact.

       B. Stumble did not provoke Oscar by means of verbal harassment
        or teasing.
      Topic Sentences
      and Transitions
   Use topic sentences to focus the
    reader’s attention on what will
    come next. (First, Next, etc.)

   Topic sentences often appear as
    the first sentence of a paragraph
    and introduce a factor or analytical
    category to be applied where the
    discussion is not long enough for a
    sub-point heading
                 Don’t Forget
   Counter arguments to the
    application of a factor or
    analytical category go at the
    end of the respective
    application of that factor or
    category.
       The Outline of the Memo
   Is due in class this Thursday, Sept. 2.

   Should cover ONLY the legal
    discussion or analysis section
    of the memo

   Should resemble the sample outline.

   Should include a cover page with your legal
    writing section and anonymous number.
          The Outline of the Memo
   Should be no more than two pages
    (double spaced and 12 point Courier New)

   Should include any necessary road-maps.

   Should include a place for

       case discussions
       applications
       counter-analysis and a response.
 Structuring Your Legal Analysis:
 Organizational Building Blocks




   CONCLUSION
       Integrate law and fact in the prediction
         The Conclusion Section
   Your memo should
    contain mini-conclusions
    at the end of the discussion
    of lengthy elements and a
    conclusion section at the
    end of each issue which
    addresses the question
    presented.

   The reasoning of your conclusions should
    integrate the law with the facts of your
    client’s case as well as make predictions
           Example of a Conclusion:

   The court will likely find that Host was an owner under
    the Animal Control Act. (prediction)

   A person who harbors a dog can be classified as the
    dog’s owner within the meaning of the Animal Control
    Act. (law part)

   Because Host undertook to care for Oscar by feeding
    him on a semi-permanent basis, as well as regularly
    brushing him, Host provided a sufficient level of care
    to be considered an owner under the
    statute.(fact/application part)

				
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