By On Sep 29, 2018 Form Templates
YFind out what the standards are for citing authority in your jurisdiction. In California, lawyers follow the California Style Manual. In New York, they should (but frequently dont) follow the New York Law Reports Style Manual. In Texas, every knowledgeable practitioner follows the Texas Rules of Form. Other states have their own guides. And, of course, The Bluebook and the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation are widely used as defaults (and sometimes required by court rules). Even if you are not inclined to care much about these things, you better learn to obsess over them. Otherwise, you will look unschooled.
Its not enough to summarize. You must summarize in a way that every conceivable reader—not just the assigning lawyer—can understand. So dont write your issue this way: "Whether Goliad can take a tax deduction on the rent-free space granted to Davidoff under I.R.C. § 170(f)(3)?" Thats incomprehensible to most readers because its too abstract and it assumes insider knowledge. Also, it doesnt show any mastery of the problem.
When given an assignment, ask plenty of questions. Read the relevant documents and take good notes. Learn all you can about the clients situation. If you are a junior asked to write a memo or a motion but you are not told anything about the clients actual problem, ask what it is in some detail. You must be adequately briefed—and thats partly your responsibility. Theres almost no way to write a good research memo in the abstract. As you are reading cases and examining statutes, you will be in a much better position to apply your findings if you know the relevant specifics.
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