Writing a legal research memorandum examples

This handout is a terse guide to legal citation in the USA. The generally accepted style manual for legal citations in the USA is the Bluebook: Opinions of some courts use a different format from the Bluebook, but these alternative citation formats contains the same information. Furthermore, the proper format according to the Bluebook changes with time, so old sources both cases and law review articles do not use the modern format for citation.

Writing a legal research memorandum examples

Discussion Conclusion If you follow the model of including your Short Conclusion early in the memorandum, keep that section extremely brief three-four sentences, maximum. You can then provide a more detailed Conclusion at the end. Since the purpose of the memorandum is to answer the legal question posed, you cannot simply say that the law is unclear and leave it at that.

Drafting a Law Office Memorandum - Legal Writing Center - CUNY School of Law

You have to trust that your research and analytical skills enable you to provide a reasonable answer. In some circumstances there may be a practical solution that enables you to avoid confronting the uncertainty in the law. However, usually you have to make a decision about what a court would likely do if faced with your fact situation.

Try to avoid using equivocal language in your memorandum where possible. This is particularly important in the Conclusion section.

The Discussion section should be broken down into a separate part for each discrete legal issue covered in the memorandum; subheadings are helpful here. The discussion of each issue should include an introduction, an explanation of the applicable legal rule, an application of the rule to the legal problem, and a conclusion in respect of that issue.

I The first step is to state the legal issue. This can be done in a couple of ways. You can summarize the issue in the form of a topic sentence or question.

The most effective style is to use a thesis sentence or paragraph that not only indicates what the issue is, but tells the reader briefly what your conclusion is on the issue.

Legal Research and Citation Style in USA

The issue can also be referred to in the heading for this part of the Discussion section. R The second step is to determine the applicable legal rule. This involves a review and analysis of the relevant cases, statutes, and secondary sources.

It is sometimes referred to as rule explanation. Depending on the nature of the legal rule, you may need to review the history of the rule and consider the policy rationale for the rule. You may find there are different lines of cases, each resulting in a different formulation of the rule.

Try to approach this section using rules synthesized from the cases, rather than simply listing a series of individual cases.


Avoid lengthy quotations from cases. This section includes analysis of the rule, but does not include application of the rule to your facts. A The third step is to apply the legal rule to your facts.

writing a legal research memorandum examples

This involves further analysis and weighing of individual cases, distinguishing cases, making counter-arguments, and considering policy issues. C The last step is to state your conclusion on the legal issue being discussed. Although you will include overall conclusions elsewhere in your memorandum, it is also important to reach a conclusion on each legal issue as it is dealt with in turn.

IRAC need not be applied rigidly as long as all the elements are covered. Your decision about how to divide up the legal issues will influence the way that you apply IRAC. For example, if you are dealing with cases from a number of different jurisdictions you can structure your discussion separately for each jurisdiction, or cover all jurisdictions when you deal with a particular issue.

You may want to discuss each sub-issue separately. However, if that would result in repetitive discussion of the same cases in different sections of the memo, it might be better to combine your discussion of some of the sub-issues. A note on citations Your memorandum may be used to draft a letter to the client or a brief to the court, so it is extremely important to cite all of your sources and pinpoint to paragraph or page numbers as much as possible.

It is better to err on the side of providing too many citations than not providing enough. Remember that the ultimate goal of legal citations is to ensure your reader can easily find any of the material you reference.

Table of Contents

The Sample Memorandum uses in-text citations. You may choose or be asked to use footnotes or endnotes instead. It is important to adopt a consistent style throughout your memorandum, rather than switching between in-text citations and footnotes.61 Legal Memorandum Format Sample On the following pages is a legal memorandum formatted the way your memos in this class should be formatted.

The substance of this memo comes from Appendix A of the Wellford text. James Patrick Holding holds a Masters in Library Science from Florida State University. He is a published author in Christian Research Journal, and his website (yunusemremert.com) is the largest apologetics site run by a single individual and contains over articles.

A legal memorandum showcases research and analysis of the research in connection to a legal issue. A good legal memo presents key points to the issue and summarizes it to a compact one- . PURPOSE. This Regional Garrison Food Service (RGFS) Contract Administration Plan (CAP) module was developed by Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC), Installations and Logistics (I&L) (Contracts) to provide contract management guidance to contracting personnel administering the Regional Garrison Food Service Contract (RGFSC).

30 Fall Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing Vol. 8 PERSPECTIVES STRUCTURE YOUR LEGAL MEMORANDUM BY MARK GANNAGE1 Mark Gannage is a lawyer at Goodman Phillips &.

The following documents offer some suggestions for drafting a predictive legal analysis. The suggested format for a law office memorandum, structure for a working draft, a sample memorandum, and an advanced sample memorandum exemplify a conventional structure, highlighting a specific legal question and its answer, followed by a recitation of legally significant facts - the facts upon which.

Sample Legal Memos - Case Brief Examples | National Legal Research Group, Inc.