[deleted]

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
SouthernMiss
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:27 pm

[deleted]

Postby SouthernMiss » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:47 pm

fdaf
Last edited by SouthernMiss on Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
gdane
Posts: 12331
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:41 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby gdane » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:50 pm

Ask the person that assigned it to you dude. They may not want all that filler crap.

User avatar
BVest
Posts: 5682
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:51 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby BVest » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:10 pm

gdane wrote:Ask the person that assigned it to you dude. They may not want all that filler crap.


Also ask if they prefer footnotes or inline citations. I've had requests for both (at the same internship but different people assigning).

User avatar
sublime
Posts: 15399
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby sublime » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:12 pm

..

User avatar
BVest
Posts: 5682
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:51 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby BVest » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:14 pm

sublime wrote:Don't most places give you their formatting guidelines? That was the impression that I got from my LRW prof.

If they're big enough to have developed their style guide.

SouthernMiss
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:27 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby SouthernMiss » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:18 pm

sublime wrote:Don't most places give you their formatting guidelines? That was the impression that I got from my LRW prof.


I was just assigned a memo and no one mentioned formatting at all. This is a gov't agency. It was due today so I turned it in as a discussion section only, in part because I was crunched for time. I guess I'll find out if they're pissed next week.

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13913
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:21 pm

My 1L employer wanted questions presented, short answers, and discussion, and there was a Word template I had to use for the page formatting. I didn't have to TREAC very formally as long as my argument was presented logically and readably. But obviously you should ask what their expectations are.

SouthernMiss
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:27 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby SouthernMiss » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:21 pm

I don't mean to sound neurotic about this, it's just that I felt like my choice was (a) to give the impression that I never learned how to write a "proper" memo with all the right headings and sections; (b) annoy the attorney by providing extraneous information that wastes their time

SouthernMiss
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:27 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby SouthernMiss » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:22 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:My 1L employer wanted questions presented, short answers, and discussion, and there was a Word template I had to use for the page formatting. I didn't have to TREAC very formally as long as my argument was presented logically and readably. But obviously you should ask what their expectations are.


In retrospect, I should have played it safe and written a LRW style memo. I'm already dreading the "you... you did learn how to write a memo in 1L, right?" talk I'm going to get next week.

User avatar
wbrother
Posts: 499
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:02 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby wbrother » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:24 pm

SouthernMiss wrote:I don't mean to sound neurotic about this, it's just that I felt like my choice was (a) to give the impression that I never learned how to write a "proper" memo with all the right headings and sections; (b) annoy the attorney by providing extraneous information that wastes their time

Your concerns are valid, but just ask the person assigning it. Different people will want different things, and it's better to ask than too turn in work they don't like.

User avatar
Hipster but Athletic
Posts: 1993
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:15 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby Hipster but Athletic » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:27 pm

Dude, the point of the memo is to communicate something effectively and efficiently to the attorney. If she didn't tell you what she expected, she didn't realize you hadn't written anything for the agency yet --you really need to ask. It's a five second question --"hey, i know everybody has sort of different ideas of what a memo should look like, do you have a good example of what you'd like me to produce?"....she'll either give you one, or just say, "doesn't have to be too formal, but i do want good cites" in which case, casually try to IRAC, and include as much authority as possible. Chances are she already knows the law pretty well and is just looking for decent case illustrations to match the facts in whatever jx you're in.

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13913
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:28 pm

SouthernMiss wrote:I don't mean to sound neurotic about this, it's just that I felt like my choice was (a) to give the impression that I never learned how to write a "proper" memo with all the right headings and sections; (b) annoy the attorney by providing extraneous information that wastes their time

It's a bummer you didn't clarify expectations before your first attempt but just make sure your second attempt is spot on for whatever standards they want from you. My very first day last summer was similarly wonky, with someone assigning me an emergency memo without checking with my actual supervisors. I got them a quick answer but it was a crap memo. BUT, everyone understood that I'd just been tossed in over my head without any floaties. I made sure to clarify expectations before starting my next assignment.

As for questions presented/short answers, keep in mind that the people reading it are busy and they may be passing it along to people who are even busier. That's not extraneous. Some sort of summary is pretty essential. Then they can choose whether to read further into your discussion.

SouthernMiss
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:27 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby SouthernMiss » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:38 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
SouthernMiss wrote:I don't mean to sound neurotic about this, it's just that I felt like my choice was (a) to give the impression that I never learned how to write a "proper" memo with all the right headings and sections; (b) annoy the attorney by providing extraneous information that wastes their time

It's a bummer you didn't clarify expectations before your first attempt but just make sure your second attempt is spot on for whatever standards they want from you. My very first day last summer was similarly wonky, with someone assigning me an emergency memo without checking with my actual supervisors. I got them a quick answer but it was a crap memo. BUT, everyone understood that I'd just been tossed in over my head without any floaties. I made sure to clarify expectations before starting my next assignment.

As for questions presented/short answers, keep in mind that the people reading it are busy and they may be passing it along to people who are even busier. That's not extraneous. Some sort of summary is pretty essential. Then they can choose whether to read further into your discussion.


Yeah, I was given this assignment 5 hours before it was due. I felt pretty good that I churned out a well-cited 10 page memo, and gave myself plenty of time to re-read it several times to check for spelling, citations, readability. Then I turned it in and realized I had completely blanked on formatting. :oops: I got into bad habits at my former internship, and it didn't even cross my mind that anyone would care, as long as the research and writing was good. But yeah, I'll ask as soon as I see this attorney next week how to format my next one, and will be meticulous from now on.

SouthernMiss
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:27 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby SouthernMiss » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:41 pm

I'll just add this incident to my endless list of law school facepalm moments. It's amazing what an overburdened 2L schedule can do to an otherwise competent brain. The struggle is real.

User avatar
Hipster but Athletic
Posts: 1993
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:15 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby Hipster but Athletic » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:53 pm

:lol: dude, i thought you were just starting off. if you turned in a ten page memo that you went full formal on, there's no way anyone's gonna give you shit.

SouthernMiss
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:27 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby SouthernMiss » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:08 pm

Hipster but Athletic wrote::lol: dude, i thought you were just starting off. if you turned in a ten page memo that you went full formal on, there's no way anyone's gonna give you shit.


Thanks for the good vibes. I'm still facepalming though. It was my first assignment and I'm worried the attorney will think im an idiot, despite my good legal reasoning/citations/writing.

User avatar
Hipster but Athletic
Posts: 1993
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:15 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby Hipster but Athletic » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:19 pm

Ya, not trying to send good vibes. I'm trying to send you the kind of vibes that say, "the fact that you're worried about this is retarded and you should feel bad about the fact that this kind of stuff gets to you. sack up"

SouthernMiss
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:27 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby SouthernMiss » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:33 pm

Hipster but Athletic wrote:Ya, not trying to send good vibes. I'm trying to send you the kind of vibes that say, "the fact that you're worried about this is retarded and you should feel bad about the fact that this kind of stuff gets to you. sack up"


fair enough. i'll stop.

TooOld4This
Posts: 638
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:09 am

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby TooOld4This » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:31 pm

For future reference, for every new assignment, you should always ask the following before you leave the room/end the call:

1. When would you like this by?
2. What format would you like it in? (If it is the first time working with the person, ask more specific questions about document formatting)
3. Is there a model document that I should look at for style/etc?
4. How long do you envision this (memo/email/whatever) being?
5. Is there a treatise or other spot you recommend I start?

It's the junior attorneys that don't ask questions that are the dangerous ones. You need to find the balance between getting what you need to do the project well and not becoming a pest that needs micro-managing.

09042014
Posts: 18282
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby 09042014 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:42 pm

I wouldn't worry too much. I've done like three memos for a partner, once he wanted it full all questions presented, once he wanted just a discussion, and once barely more than a email.

It's not automatically wrong to just do a discussion section. Especially if the memo is just for their internal purposes. Normally, the wider the audience the more formal. Client? Do the whole 9 yards. Partner is curious about something. He might not care.

User avatar
BVest
Posts: 5682
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:51 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby BVest » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:48 pm

TooOld4This wrote:For future reference, for every new assignment, you should always ask the following before you leave the room/end the call:

1. When would you like this by?


For this question, if the answer "in the next few hours" then you need not ask this followup, but if they say "in a week" you might also ask how long they would like you to spend on it. It may be that they only expect it to be a 4-5 hour assignment but that they don't need it until next week because it's not a pressing matter. You don't want to spend 40 hours on something they only want you spending 4 on.

User avatar
BarbellDreams
Posts: 2256
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:10 pm

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby BarbellDreams » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:10 pm

The LWR format is super TTT at firms. Unless you have psychos or archaic partners your memo will always go:

- "You've asked me to research "x". Please see my finding below.
- Bunch of headings breaking down your issue(s) clearly)
- "Based on my research I am of the opinion that (this will happen because of this)"

Thats really it. My 1L summer I drafted my very first memo for a head partner about some weird florida homestead tax exemption. He literally laughed out loud when he saw my wimpy "question presented", turned to me and said "I gave you the assignment, I know what issue I presented, why would you write this?".

He is right.

User avatar
encore1101
Posts: 641
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:13 am

Re: when writing a memo at an internship...

Postby encore1101 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:20 am

SouthernMiss wrote:Say it's day 1 at a new legal internship, someone asks for a "memo" on a particular legal issue. Are you supposed to format it like in legal writing, i.e., question presented, brief answer, discussion, conclusion, or do they just want the discussion, and the rest is extraneous/annoying?


I've always included all the other sections, because you don't know who else would see it. I've drafted memos that started off to ADAs that eventually was handed up to the #2 person at the DA's Office, as well as the NY/NJ Port Authority. If and when the attorney wanted something less than a full-fledged memo, they'd explicitly tell me so.

edit: if it was due later that day, you're okay. At that point, the few hours you'd spend writing the other sections would be better off doing research/discussing the main issue.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.