By On Oct 12, 2018 Form Templates
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.
In personal experience, I have noticed a tendency for some boutique firms to write long and prolix letters. This, unfortunately, is part of the whole "boutique" experience. That is, there is a belief that if a client is going to a specific firm to deal with a specific matter, they expect legal briefs and letters from law firms to recite chapter and verse and the entirety of the practice guides. Cynically, this means billable hours. But ethical attorneys should steer away from that. Most likely, a client will be coming to you, hat in hand, simply looking for way to fix his problem. And sometimes a single page can do the trick. Forget the useless fluff.
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.
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