By On Oct 11, 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.
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.
A common shortcoming of green or hurried researchers, especially when a project is slightly overdue, is to turn in an interim draft in the hope of getting preliminary feedback. That can be ruinous. What busy supervisor wants to read serial drafts? Besides, you should never turn in tentative work—its better to be a little late than wrong. That goes for turning in projects to impatient clients as well. But keep your supervisor (and, if warranted, your client) updated on the status of your work.
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