By On Oct 12, 2018 Form Templates
If you are writing a research memo, put the question, the answer and the reason up front. Dont delay the conclusion until the end, as unthinking writers do, naively assuming that the reader will slog all the way through the memo as if it were a mystery novel. And never open with a full-blown statement of facts—despite what you may have learned elsewhere. Why? Because facts are useless to a reader who doesnt yet understand what the issue is. Instead, integrate a few key facts into your issue statement.
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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