How to Write a Legal Memorandum of Advice
If you’re in the process of writing a legal memorandum of advice, here are some tips to keep in mind: explain the purpose of the memo, use IRAC answer structure, include research-based facts, and maintain an objective tone. Depending on the audience, your memo may need to be modified. Read on for more helpful tips. You should start by stating the main facts of the case, and then address each issue in turn. Apply the IRAC answer structure as much as possible, and then state your overall conclusions and recommendations. Avoid sounding too positive, and be realistic.
Explaining the purpose of the memo
The subject of a legal memo of advice is the legal principle or factual issue being researched. The memo should present these principles or facts as a question to the reader. The topic of a legal memo should be a single sentence, and should begin with the words “whether” or “does.” Then, incorporate the relevant facts and rule into the subject of the memo. The reason for presenting the legal principle or factual issue must be explained. Finally, the memo should end with a restatement of the Conclusion.
The body of the legal memo should consist of one or more subheadings that address the most relevant issue first. Next, use subheadings that address the second issue. Use acronyms to help you remember the major elements of a legal discussion. Remember to keep the reader’s time and the requirements of the legal memo in mind. Follow the guidelines given by your lecturer and firm. These tips can help you write an effective memo.
Formatting the memo correctly
As with other memos, formatting properly is critical to its success. The introductory paragraph should clearly state the purpose of the memo. Avoid using all caps and exclamation points, and avoid using overly technical language. You should also keep the format straightforward and concise. You should provide as much information as possible in a few paragraphs, and try to keep the length of your memo to less than five pages. Here are some tips on formatting a legal memo of advice correctly.
The format of a memo varies based on the organization that’s receiving it. If the memo is aimed at internal stakeholders, the tone will be light and humorous. If it’s aimed at a client, the tone will be more serious. In the same way, a memo to a client about a summer picnic will have a light and happy tone. If, on the other hand, the memo is intended to be read by an attorney or law firm, it should be formal and professional.
Including research-based facts
A legal memo of advice must begin with a brief statement of facts that have a bearing on the subject. Without these facts, the advice may be useless and may fail to reach its intended target. Moreover, a legal memo must be accurate in terms of facts, since these facts serve as a frame of reference. Even a minute fact may change the outcome of a legal issue.
The discussion section of a legal memorandum should be structured just like a law school exam. In other words, it should assume that the reader has a basic understanding of the law and facts, so that it focuses on educating the reader about the relevant legal principles and their application to the situation at hand. It should also highlight counter-arguments and explore other legal principles.
Keeping an objective tone
When writing a legal memo of advice, keep the tone objective and free of subjectivity. The memo will be the building blocks for court documents, and will be used as the basis for letters to clients and opposing counsel. The memo will also be used as part of a report to a government agency. Here are some tips for maintaining an objective tone:
Follow a structure that signals the content and importance of each section of the memo. Create a mental road map of what each section will contain, so that you can avoid repetition. For example, a legal memo should cover all legal issues arising from the facts of the case, as well as the reasoning supporting predictions. In addition, a memo should never be overly positive or negative. If a client’s case is weak, deliver the bad news.