Open memo tips

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delusional
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Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:57 pm

Open memo tips

Postby delusional » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:37 am

I'm looking for open memo tips, not offering them, so sorry if I disappointed you.

Adjusting to the open memo from the closed is turning out to be difficult.

How do you decide what are issues and what are not? In the jurisdiction in question, the doctrine is straightforward, but I have ten pages to kill.

For example, say the issue is a negligence case. Bob left his chain saw running in the living area of his home, and the child for whom he was babysitting was injured by it. The assigning memo points out that there are five elements of negligence, duty, breach, cause in fact, proximate cause, and harm.

Do I spend five mini-sections, one on each element, using only cases from Bob's jurisdiction? Do I try to nit pick and find a case in another jurisdiction that considered it contributory negligence when parents dropped off the child without checking whether the babysitter was ready, even though this case barely applies? Or do I give the issue the treatment it deserves, which means a memo that only fills 7 pages out of the allotted ten, and will be a lame-ass writing sample?

How do you decide when to use a rule that clearly applies to an obvious situation (intent, when the act was intentional, for example) and when to find a case that supports it, although it's super simple? How do you decide when to use a more analogous case from a state with slightly different rules, and obviously no precedential authority? Should I really be researching to the point that I'm looking first to states with more-similar doctrine over states that have different doctrine but a more similar case?

By now you can see how I've thought so hard I screwed myself into the ground. Please help!

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jessuf
Posts: 12569
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:27 pm

Re: Open memo tips

Postby jessuf » Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:45 pm

delusional wrote:I'm looking for open memo tips, not offering them, so sorry if I disappointed you.

Adjusting to the open memo from the closed is turning out to be difficult.

How do you decide what are issues and what are not? In the jurisdiction in question, the doctrine is straightforward, but I have ten pages to kill.

For example, say the issue is a negligence case. Bob left his chain saw running in the living area of his home, and the child for whom he was babysitting was injured by it. The assigning memo points out that there are five elements of negligence, duty, breach, cause in fact, proximate cause, and harm.

Do I spend five mini-sections, one on each element, using only cases from Bob's jurisdiction? Do I try to nit pick and find a case in another jurisdiction that considered it contributory negligence when parents dropped off the child without checking whether the babysitter was ready, even though this case barely applies? Or do I give the issue the treatment it deserves, which means a memo that only fills 7 pages out of the allotted ten, and will be a lame-ass writing sample?

How do you decide when to use a rule that clearly applies to an obvious situation (intent, when the act was intentional, for example) and when to find a case that supports it, although it's super simple? How do you decide when to use a more analogous case from a state with slightly different rules, and obviously no precedential authority? Should I really be researching to the point that I'm looking first to states with more-similar doctrine over states that have different doctrine but a more similar case?

By now you can see how I've thought so hard I screwed myself into the ground. Please help!


By issue, do you mean which elements are disputed and which are not?
My memo has two causes of action. One has 6 elements, the other has 4. Some of those elements are disputed, some are not. For those that aren't disputed, you don't go into depth on them obviously. You write out the rule of law, then explain why it's a given that the facts meet that law. For those that are disputed, you do the rule of law, case description, analysis, etc.

If the facts of a case in another jurisdiction barely apply, do not use them. If you have plenty of cases in your jurisdiction, use them.

My memo is on something that hasn't really been covered in my jurisdiction but has been covered in other jurisdictions. I'm not allowed to use anything outside of my state, though. If I had something that was pretty straight forward, I would be so happy.

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kalvano
Posts: 11725
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Open memo tips

Postby kalvano » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:09 am

How to write a memo is pretty much entirely dependent on the person teaching the class. Were you provided with sample memos?




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