By On Oct 23, 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.
The late Judge David Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was a stickler for super-tight prose. Once, when his student clerk, Eugene Gelernter (now a New York City litigator), brought him a draft opinion, the great judge said: "Nice draft, Gene. Now go back and read it again. Take out every paragraph you dont need, then every sentence you dont need. Then go back and take out every word you dont need. Then, when you are done with that, go back and start the whole process all over again." We should all have such a mentor.
Whether you are writing a research memo, an opinion letter or a brief, you will need an up-front summary. That typically consists of three things: the principal questions, the answers to those questions and the reasons for those answers. If you are drafting a motion or brief, try to state on page one the main issue and why your client should win—and put it in a way that your friends and relatives could understand. Thats your biggest challenge.
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