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.
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. Please see also the page dedicated to legal citation.
If your memorandum is especially long or complex, you may wish to provide a bibliography at the end, listing all of the authorities you have cited. This bibliography can be divided into sub-sections for legislation; jurisprudence; and secondary materials like textbooks and journal articles. The items in each section should be listed in alphabetical order. Guidelines for computer research Making Good Choices: A legal memorandum is comprised of certain standard elements: Each of these elements is discussed in greater detail below.
The heading The heading should identify the author and recipient of the memorandum, and include the date, client identification, and subject matter. Issues The Issues portion of the memorandum is crucial.
However, when compared to 2 and 3, it is clearly inadequate. It provides no context for anyone who is not immediately familiar with the case, and does not add value to the memorandum as a precedent for future cases. It provides a concise summary of the legal issue, and includes the essential elements. It is less wordy than 3, making it easier to read and understand.
However, it is less complete than 3, because it does not incorporate the specific facts of the case. It sets out the precise legal issue to be resolved. Just as each legal case is decided within the confines of the facts of that case, a legal memorandum is intended to address the narrow legal issue raised by a particular problem.
Short conclusion Here, you can provide a brief, up-front statement of your conclusion s. There are various ways of dealing with conclusions in a legal memorandum: 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. 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. 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. 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.
Federal Statutes are collected in the United States Code. This will limit your search to the statute section headings, which are the catch-lines of statutes. Typically, the history line lists the changes in chronological order, with the first listed Public Law being the act that enacted that section. For example, in Section , there is the following history:. In this example, in October of by the Public Law the first number refers to the th Congress. You can access this Public Law by using the hypertext link in the history line.
In this Public Law, you can see the original language of the section when it was enacted. Note that the original language in the Public Law corresponds to subsection a in the current version of this section. The second entry in the history line refers you to the different amendments made to the statute. By reviewing this public law, you see that, in , Congress added subsection b , concerning obstructing or interfering in the enforcement of Section Also, in the All News search, you can search for news stories about human trafficking in the year or two prior to the enactment of this legislation.
Specify your date range by limiting your search to a year or two before the passage of the Public Law. Search the news around the time the legislation was enacted to find opinion pieces or editorials about the law. In order to see opinion pieces or letters to the editors about the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, you can start with the search above, but, this time, use the All News search screen. The default source is "Major World Publications," but you can also select another source, such as "All News.
Another source of opinion or analysis is law reviews. Significant convictions, or appeals thereof, may appear as case opinions in the federal cases file. Input the name of the Public Act in the search box. You can also see if the state laws were enacted before the federal laws or in response to them. Again, we will use the topic of "human trafficking" to illustrate the scenario.
Follow the directions on how to find a Statute's History Line in the second common assignment above. Common Legal Research Assignments. The Center is still under construction and will soon be enhanced with new articles, images, and other features. LexisNexis Academic Knowledge Center. Federal Statutes and Regulations. Build Your Own Search. A Resource and Reference Guide. Deduplication of News Stories. Document Delivery to Cloud Storage.
How to Compare Companies with Company Dossier. How to Find a Critical Review.
For this research scenario, the topic of "human trafficking" is used to explore legal developments over time. Below is an example of this type of assignment: ''Find the federal statutes related to human trafficking.
The increased utilization of international legal material is also a factor. This is shown by examples such as at Harvard Law School where international law is a compulsory subject in the first year. Kirby notes that the most momentous change in law pertinent to the function of the Doctrine of Precedent is the enhanced use of statute law.
For this research scenario, the topic of "human trafficking" is used to explore legal developments over time. Below is an example of this type of assignment. legal research and writing, students weave analysis into research and writing and learn how to practice law.1 This article intro-∗ © , Suzanne E. Rowe. All rights reserved. The Author is an Associate Profes-sor and the Director of Legal Research and Writing at the University of Oregon School of Law.
Ten Tips for Success on Legal Research and Writing Assignments. Sadly, there is no magic secret to doing well on legal writing assignments. Legal writing is a skill that can benefit from effective coaching but, in the end, comes down to practice and repetition. Hopefully, the tips that follow can help you avoid some of the major obstacles. LEGAL RESEARCH ASSIGNMENT 3 – Concord Law School 2 This handout is focused on statutory research and will involve research around one particular issue. Your client recently moved the child to Texas in violation of a child custody order which was entered in California in A new proceeding has been started in Texas.