By On Sep 28, 2018 Form Templates
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.
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.
The structure is important, Hill says. “In order for our logical syllogism or rule-based reasoning to work, the legal writer needs to prove or provide all of the rules and sub-rules and any exceptions, along with any case exceptions before applying the law to the facts of your case and making any comparisons to precedent.” Judges and other legal readers do not like surprises, she says. “They do not want you to include new law in the application section or any exceptions to the rule after you start applying that rule to your facts. So this form will give the reader comfort and confidence.”
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