How to write a legal memorandum format
- Doris M
A legal memorandum is an informal document, which is written in a brief form as a note or outline for a particular legal transaction for the purpose of assisting the parties involved, to remember particular points for future reference. It is also referred to as a ‘memo’. It may be used in court to prove a transaction or a contract was made. When writing one, the research and analysis of particular facts are applied and presented by following a structure with certain conventions. Now because each memorandum is unique, no two memoranda will be organized in the exact same way. There is room to incorporate your own style when preparing a memorandum. However, there is a general structure and components for this form of writing that can be applied to a research assignment in the ways that are most effective for the issue you have at hand.
There can also be business memoranda which are specifically formatted to show written communications within a business. It is informal; however, it still captures the business transactions for the public. A legal memorandum has a specific standard element attached to each of them. This includes the heading, the distinct identification of the legal issue or issues at hand, third includes a short summary of your conclusion and review the relevant facts of the subject at hand. There should be a discussion of the law which is relevant to the legal issues and application of those facts as mentioned above. In conclusion, make it responsive to the legal issues included in the memorandum.
All memoranda should have their title, which is ‘Memorandum’, carefully addressed to the intended recipient. This is part of the memo’s heading. Additional recipients may be added under the CC line, and your name as the sender is placed at the ‘from’ line. Always include the date and subject matter. This goes without saying. It is always good to have your documents well dated for future reference and for general record keeping.
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The issues component of your memorandum is very important. You must identify the correct legal issues at hand within the context of your case. They must be factual. At this point, you should add the legal elements that are essential to the resolution of the issues of your case. The more descriptive and concise your issue statement it, the more effective it will be. A good memorandum will address a legal issue raised by a particular problem.
Try and keep the conclusion short and to the point, without leaving out essential issues. A clear and responsive answer must be provided as soon as possible on the document. The receiver does not want to be kept in the dark for long. Also, when it comes to laying out the facts, be careful to indicate when you have relied on research and any other documentation to prepare your memorandum. If there are any assumptions, indicate that as well.
It is prudent writing to be objective in your writing and use chronological order. Additionally, use definitions for terminology that will not be familiar with persons who are not of a legal background. This is especially important if the terms are used severally. If your matter relates back to litigation, be careful to make reviews on the key parts of the procedural history and make a note of the proceedings n your work.
The facts portion can either come before or after the issues section of the memorandum. If the issues make sense without the facts portion, then the facts can come after. If the issues will be directly related to the facts and it will be meaningful for understanding; then the facts can come before. There are also various formats that can be used. A format that includes a short description can be kept very brief at 3-4 sentences in length. The short conclusion and general conclusion should more or less be the same.