Legal Memo advice for 1L?

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smr00
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Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby smr00 » Mon Oct 15, 2007 3:23 pm

Hi everyone, I was wondering if you could give me some pointers/advice on how to write legal memos. My entire grade for one of our courses is based upon a legal memo and I want to make sure that I know how to write these well. We handed in a nongraded version and just had them returned by our professor-i was slightly disappointed with my performance. I thought I wrote a decent memo but apparently it was just average with some organizational/structural problems. What is the best way to practice these? Are there any sites that provide examples of the "good" and the "bad"? Any books people recommend?
Any help would be appreciated!!

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Corsair
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Postby Corsair » Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:50 pm

..

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ktlulu1
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Postby ktlulu1 » Mon Oct 15, 2007 5:21 pm

Do you have a textbook for your class? That should probably have a fairly decent layout of the structure and organization of a memo. If not, our textbook is pretty decent. It is: Robin Wellford Slocum, "Legal Reasoning, Writing and Persuasive Argument" , 2nd edition

It has examples of memos and gives pretty good details about different approaches to the sections of the memo.

I don't really use it much, though, because our professor has been very specific about the exact format for our memos. I think the best thing you can really do is try to replicate exactly what your professor has told you to do in class. I haven't found any useful websites. I looked for about 5 minutes the other day and got bored...

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Smart4anIdiot
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Postby Smart4anIdiot » Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:29 pm

The writing TA's are the most useful help I've found. Come prepared with specific questions and they almost always help you work through your problems and show you how to improve your writing.

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AR75
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Postby AR75 » Tue Oct 16, 2007 12:05 am

My text by Suzanne Rowe has a perfect example of a legal memo, complete with a chapter in the text devoted to its analysis and structure. Your text should be similar. If not, your TA or professor gets paid good money to teach you what you want to know.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:02 pm

Why not redact your writing and either post it or PM it to me. I'll take a look if you like..

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apper123
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby apper123 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:05 pm

reasonable_man wrote:Why not redact your writing and either post it or PM it to me. I'll take a look if you like..


lol

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reasonable_man
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:06 pm

apper123 wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:Why not redact your writing and either post it or PM it to me. I'll take a look if you like..


lol


I missed the joke?

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reasonable_man
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:14 pm

betasteve wrote:Honor code stuff, I think....

If its been graded already, I don't really see where the honor code violation comes in, unless he has to hand it back in as another draft.

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macattaq
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby macattaq » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:25 pm

If you want some worksheets you can look at, I can download the ones we used from TWEN and link you to them. The examples will be specific to our issue, but I think you should be able to glean plenty of useful information from them.

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apper123
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby apper123 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:03 pm

reasonable_man wrote:
apper123 wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:Why not redact your writing and either post it or PM it to me. I'll take a look if you like..


lol


I missed the joke?


yep

betasteve wrote:Honor code stuff, I think....


nope

here's a hint: see date of the OP

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reasonable_man
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:32 pm

hmm wonder why this came as a new post? weird.

Hope he figured it out lol

Nietzsche_Addy
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby Nietzsche_Addy » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:30 pm

I don't know why I thought of this right now, but it has been bugging me since I started law school. Did everyone besides me learn in undergrad that there should be two spaces after every sentence? I lost a few points on the first memo because I only used one space between sentences. When I talked to my friends about it, they looked at me like I was crazy. I wrote a lot of papers in undergrad and never had a problem.

The double space technique is ingrained now, but I am still curious about this. Any takers?

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bees
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby bees » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:34 pm

Nietzsche_Addy wrote:I don't know why I thought of this right now, but it has been bugging me since I started law school. Did everyone besides me learn in undergrad that there should be two spaces after every sentence? I lost a few points on the first memo because I only used one space between sentences. When I talked to my friends about it, they looked at me like I was crazy. I wrote a lot of papers in undergrad and never had a problem.

The double space technique is ingrained now, but I am still curious about this. Any takers?


I knew a few people in UG who would argue that it should only be one space. They were, of course, wrong.

Nietzsche_Addy
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby Nietzsche_Addy » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:39 pm

bees wrote:I knew a few people in UG who would argue that it should only be one space. They were, of course, wrong.


Did your profs actually mention/require the double spacing? I seriously had never heard of it before LW. Now I'm wondering what other fundamentals I didn't learn in undergrad.

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vamedic03
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:53 pm

Nietzsche_Addy wrote:
bees wrote:I knew a few people in UG who would argue that it should only be one space. They were, of course, wrong.


Did your profs actually mention/require the double spacing? I seriously had never heard of it before LW. Now I'm wondering what other fundamentals I didn't learn in undergrad.


You're not crazy . . . according to wikipedia Chicago manual of style calls for 1 space after periods and MLA allows for 1 or 2

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profs<3mycomments
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby profs<3mycomments » Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:05 pm

AP style is one. The entire internet uses one. I still use two, but it makes me feel inferior sometimes.

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apper123
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby apper123 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:00 pm

I use 1. I think 2 is an archaic method originating from typewriters. I have never used 2 in my life. It's worth noting one of my majors in college was English too, and no professor ever said anything to me about it.

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JazzOne
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby JazzOne » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:15 pm

There should be two spaces after a period if it ends a sentence, but one space after the period in an abbreviation. Otherwise it would be ambiguous when the word after the abbreviation was a proper noun and thus capitalized.

engineer
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby engineer » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:25 pm

Nietzsche_Addy wrote:I don't know why I thought of this right now, but it has been bugging me since I started law school. Did everyone besides me learn in undergrad that there should be two spaces after every sentence? I lost a few points on the first memo because I only used one space between sentences. When I talked to my friends about it, they looked at me like I was crazy. I wrote a lot of papers in undergrad and never had a problem.

The double space technique is ingrained now, but I am still curious about this. Any takers?


It's one space for variable-width fonts (Times New Roman, Calibri, Arial, etc.) and two spaces for fixed-width fonts (Courier New). That's the rule, and I think Strunk & White may agree, but I haven't checked.

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JazzOne
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby JazzOne » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:35 pm

engineer wrote:
Nietzsche_Addy wrote:I don't know why I thought of this right now, but it has been bugging me since I started law school. Did everyone besides me learn in undergrad that there should be two spaces after every sentence? I lost a few points on the first memo because I only used one space between sentences. When I talked to my friends about it, they looked at me like I was crazy. I wrote a lot of papers in undergrad and never had a problem.

The double space technique is ingrained now, but I am still curious about this. Any takers?


It's one space for variable-width fonts (Times New Roman, Calibri, Arial, etc.) and two spaces for fixed-width fonts (Courier New). That's the rule, and I think Strunk & White may agree, but I haven't checked.

I have been meaning to read a wiki article about fonts. Is Times the same as Times New Roman? I think I'm going to read up a bit...

Renaixença
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby Renaixença » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:40 pm

betasteve wrote:I use 2. I will forever use 2. I feel superior.


My bitch-scribe uses 2. My bitch-scribe will forever be my bitch-scribe. I am superior.

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OperaAttorney
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby OperaAttorney » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:58 pm

engineer wrote:
Nietzsche_Addy wrote:I don't know why I thought of this right now, but it has been bugging me since I started law school. Did everyone besides me learn in undergrad that there should be two spaces after every sentence? I lost a few points on the first memo because I only used one space between sentences. When I talked to my friends about it, they looked at me like I was crazy. I wrote a lot of papers in undergrad and never had a problem.

The double space technique is ingrained now, but I am still curious about this. Any takers?


It's one space for variable-width fonts (Times New Roman, Calibri, Arial, etc.) and two spaces for fixed-width fonts (Courier New). That's the rule, and I think Strunk & White may agree, but I haven't checked.


I didn't know that. I thought some disciplines preferred "one" over "two" and vice versa. Thank goodness legal writing requires using 2 spaces. I'm always happy to do whatever I can to make my papers longer--they're always so short :( .

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OperaAttorney
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby OperaAttorney » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:59 pm

betasteve wrote:Honor code stuff, I think....


I always chuckle when I hear law students or lawyers discuss the honor code. :wink:

oneforship
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Re: Legal Memo advice for 1L?

Postby oneforship » Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:10 am

In every legal brief I've worked on and filed (as a paralegal), 2 spaces after every period ending a sentence and after every colon. TNR font.




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