Paralegal 101: How to Write Effective Legal Memos

Paralegal typing on a laptopWhen an associate or partner requests for a legal memo, he or she is essentially requesting for a thorough analysis of a specific or several legal topics. It could help shape the foundation of crucial decisions, including whether the lawyer should take the case or not.

While you can learn the basics in one of the top paralegal schools today, this guide could help you write more effective legal memos.

Write for a Specific Audience

Make sure you understand whom you’re writing for. For example, one lawyer in your firm might need a basic analysis of a legal issue from the get-go, while another lawyer might need a more in-depth analysis. Knowing what your boss lawyers expect from you could help you determine which technique will fit the situation.

Determine the Main Issues

When you narrow down the scope of the memo, you could easily focus on the specific issues that require special attention. Don’t forget to include counterarguments as well.

Being Organized Is Key

All legal memos have standard sections, including stating the case, presenting the issue, and the conclusion. Other than these, be sure to include sections for every subsection of every issue you mentioned. For instance, if a legal issue involves a specific tort or crime, include a subsection for every element of the tort or crime.

Start and End Strong

Be sure to include specific answers to each relevant question to enable your readers to get the information they need. In addition, end your memo with conclusive sentences based on the aforementioned content.

Include All Sides

Refrain from manipulating facts, as it might indicate that you are favoring just one side (your side) of an argument. Always include an analysis of particular facts that also counters your argument and relevant lawsuits that oppose your position.

Short and Concise Always Works

Legal memos should be thoroughly and extensively researched while keeping the information as concise as possible. You could achieve this balance by using clear and detailed headings, as well as section breaks. This ensures that your reader won’t have hard time following your argument and its logic.

Legal writing is no small feat, especially if you’re just starting out and have just completed your training from one of the top paralegal schools in your area. Keeping these guidelines in mind will give you the confidence you need to write an effective legal memo.