How to write a memo summarizing statutes and case law

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UnderrateOverachieve
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:34 pm

How to write a memo summarizing statutes and case law

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:58 pm

Hey guys, I am doing some research for a professor and am having a little difficulty figuring how to to complete an assignment.

He wants me to find statutes similar to one in a case he gave me and write a memo summarizing examples I run into. Also, he wants a summary of caselaw that has examined the constitutionality of these types of statutes.

I have never written anything like this in my writing classes. It may be much similar than I realize and I am just over thinking it. Is there any examples or guides to writing something like this?

I already emailed him back asking if he had a preferred format for a memo and admitted that my only experience has been the typical, "client walks into your office and has x legal question." I would rather not press him too much and seem incompetent. Thanks in advanced for any responses!

(Before any people start saying "hey this guy is trying to cheat at write-on!" I already competed in my school's write-on two weeks ago. It was a closed memo and I think I did alright, but am not holding my breath)

UnderrateOverachieve
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:34 pm

Re: How to write a memo summarizing statutes and case law

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:45 am

Did a google search and the one of the top results was this post -_-

Pokemon
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Re: How to write a memo summarizing statutes and case law

Postby Pokemon » Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:10 am

The memos I write (I actually have no idea whether I am doing it right,) basically are very simply written, concise, summaries of law.
I basically outline the case law, create a "logic tree" for the area I am studying, to know what is up; after doing that I write a summary, following the logic tree, where literally every sentence is cited and directly quoted in parts. Then, I double check it to make sure it flows, it is concise and not repetitive. Then I go on my first paragraph, and I do a "summary of findings" so if the person gets overwhelmed from reading two pages, he can know from the first paragraph what the rest will say in more detail.

TooOld4This
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Re: How to write a memo summarizing statutes and case law

Postby TooOld4This » Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:33 am

The difference between your writing class and actual work is that in real work substance trumps (and generally drives) form. I highly doubt your prof cares about the format for your memo. He wants the answer to his questions presented concisely and correctly.

Write your introduction last. It should be an over view of what the rest of the memo says. I see this as having three sections. Section 1 gives the statute your prof gave you and develops any context for it. Section 2 lists all of the similar statutes. The form of this will depend on what your research turns up. You might want sub sections describing them, or an expanded bulletted list, or even a chart (or some combo). Look at the data you find and then figure out what form will convey the information most clearly. The third section would have your case law. If you have a chart, you might have a column that flags whether or not there are cases.

This seems like a pretty straight forward assignment (there doesn't appear to be much, any synthesis or analysis, which can make organizing your writing more difficult). Focus on your research and keep it organized and you are likely to see the structure of the final product come together.

UnderrateOverachieve
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:34 pm

Re: How to write a memo summarizing statutes and case law

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:43 am

TooOld4This wrote:The difference between your writing class and actual work is that in real work substance trumps (and generally drives) form. I highly doubt your prof cares about the format for your memo. He wants the answer to his questions presented concisely and correctly.

Write your introduction last. It should be an over view of what the rest of the memo says. I see this as having three sections. Section 1 gives the statute your prof gave you and develops any context for it. Section 2 lists all of the similar statutes. The form of this will depend on what your research turns up. You might want sub sections describing them, or an expanded bulletted list, or even a chart (or some combo). Look at the data you find and then figure out what form will convey the information most clearly. The third section would have your case law. If you have a chart, you might have a column that flags whether or not there are cases.

This seems like a pretty straight forward assignment (there doesn't appear to be much, any synthesis or analysis, which can make organizing your writing more difficult). Focus on your research and keep it organized and you are likely to see the structure of the final product come together.


Is there a thank you that was incredibly helpful button I can press on this site?

6lehderjets
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Re: How to write a memo summarizing statutes and case law

Postby 6lehderjets » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:51 am

Your legal writing book may also have some examples.

Younger Abstention
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Re: How to write a memo summarizing statutes and case law

Postby Younger Abstention » Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:27 pm

You're overthinking it. I would literally just summarize, individually, each and every statute and case you have. Make a list. Sometimes memo doesn't mean memo.

-someone who practices law

UnderrateOverachieve
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Re: How to write a memo summarizing statutes and case law

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:30 pm

Already finished. It actually became really clear when I was doing some reading for a summer class.

The opinion was going through a summary of some other state's case law and it became very obvious how to proceed.

Most states have adopted xyz method, however these states haven't.

For the states that have, RULE EXPLANATION. Examples of the rule. However, other states. blah blah blah.

Thanks for the help guys.

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Mick Haller
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Re: How to write a memo summarizing statutes and case law

Postby Mick Haller » Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:34 pm

Look up a statute on lexis and copy their format. They have subsequent revisions as well as summaries of cases that have interpreted the statute.




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