How to Write a Legal Motion

Before you sit down to write a legal motion, take a moment to review these guidelines: Common types of legal motions, Contents, and Rules of citation. Use these guidelines to write an effective motion. By following these tips, you will have a strong legal argument. Don’t forget to cite any relevant case law. Citing case law is a must if you want to succeed. Incorrect citations can lead to a dispositive ruling.

Common types of legal motions

Throughout the course of a litigation, there are many common types of legal motions. These are filed for a variety of reasons, such as to obtain information or evidence, to dismiss a case, or to thin out a case. Some motions are simple, while others are highly technical and require elaborate memoranda. No matter the reason for filing a motion, it’s important to consider it at every stage of the process.

A motion is a formal request to a court for an order, ruling, or direction. These types of motions are categorized according to the type of case. For example, in a lawsuit involving a defamation case, the defendant will generally file a motion for anti-SLAPP dismissal, a type of motion that has lower standards for the plaintiff. The court will then deny the plaintiff’s motion.


While lawyers and other professionals may want to impress the judge with fancy phrasing and flowery language, most fail to use the format of a legal motion to its maximum benefit. Writing a motion requires careful planning and a thorough outline to focus your argument and enhance its presentation. Here are some tips for creating a well-written motion. Listed below are the most common mistakes that lawyers make when writing a motion.

o The court may issue an oral decision from the bench or ask the winner to draft an order for the judicial officer’s signature. Or, the court may take the matter under submission and issue a lengthy written decision. If the court decides that sanctions are appropriate, it will determine the timing for the application of the sanctions. The judge will determine when the sanctions should be imposed and the exact format of the document should be followed.


A legal motion must state a factual background and cite evidence to support the motion. It should avoid citing facts that are irrelevant to the motion before the court. Remember that not all facts are relevant to the motion before the court, and you don’t want the judge to waste time reading irrelevant material. It is also best to limit the number of unrelated facts in your motion; these should be relegated to your pleadings. If you want to be as specific as possible, you can also draft affidavits or submit documentary evidence that supports your arguments.

Rules of citation

When citing other sources, always use the correct format, including a citation. Citations to dissenting or concurring opinions should be indicated with parentheses. In a legal motion, cite the case in which the source is discussed. For example, Commonwealth v. Ireland involves a purebred bloodhound that was used as a tracking dog. Its owner was in good health. In the same case, twenty-four missing people were involved.

Citations should include the first party, which can be a geographic unit or governmental entity. In short, “United States” is not a useful citation. The first party should always be listed in the citation. It is also important to include the date when the case was brought to court. You should also include the complete subsequent history of the case. If the cited source is a book, you can cite it as well.

IFRAC format

The IFRAC format is a commonly used format by law schools and legal practices. While some firms and practices refer to it as CREAC, the basic elements of the document remain the same. To write a legal motion, you should ask your professors to show you sample IFRAC documents, and practice writing them yourself on paper. You may also consider contacting a law school to learn more about the format.

If you haven’t written a legal motion in IFRAC format before, you can review samples of other lawyers’ work online. Remember, that a well-organized motion will have IRACs for each heading. Your Memorandum of Law should follow this format. If it is not organized, it will be disregarded by the court. You can also ask an attorney to review the document to ensure its correct structure and logical structure.

How to Write a Legal Motion