By On Oct 05, 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.
Some lawyers, especially less experienced ones being encouraged to avoid legalese, end up turning blithely informal and flouting the norms of standard English, especially in email messages. For example, they might write "u" instead of "you" and "cd" instead of "could." Some even use emoticons. Even if you find yourself working for a firm where some people do these things, exercise restraint. Use conventional punctuation and capitalization in your email messages. Your colleagues wont think any less of you, and your supervisors will appreciate your professionalism.
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.
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