So You’ve been asked to Write a Memorandum of Law . . . stay calm and read this post

Pulling hair out

It was all fine and dandy in your legal research class, but now your boss is asking you to write a memorandum of law for a motion for discovery (it could be for any motion), and you are having a panic attack.  You have gotten so desperate that you started surfing the internet.  It happens.

Just stay calm, and remind yourself that you are a trained professional.  You can, with a little guidance, do this.

Writing a memorandum of law in support of a motion is much like putting together a puzzle.  You must identify what goes where.  For example, you will have facts to include.  There will be law that is relevant and needs to be included, and there will be the need to be persuasive at some point, so the judge is convinced of your position.  Finally, you will need to tell everyone when the motion is being heard and prove that you served it.

To that end, we have the following parts of the Motion to consider, all of which impact the memorandum of law:

  • Notice of Motion (separate document with caption/signature line)
  • Memorandum of Law, aka “Memo of Law” (attached to Motion/usually doesn’t have a separate caption/does have signature line)
  • Supporting Declaration(s) (usually attached behind Memo of Law (at least one declaration required)
  • Exhibits (usually attached to Declaration and referenced therein)
Published in: on October 9, 2013 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Pre-litigation – What’s Involved?

Pre-litigation is a the first state of a civil lawsuit.  The following are customarily part of the pre-litigation process:
  • Initial meeting with Attorney
  • Personal Information (name, address, phone number, date of birth)
  • Fact-gathering for basis of legal advice/opinions (e.g. date of accident, nature and extent of injuries, property damage, doctors, etc.)
  • Setting fee/signing fee agreement
  • Informal discovery (gathering information evidencing client’s claims)
  • Demand Letter (attempt to settle case before filing Complaint)
Before filing a Complaint (and incurring the expense of filing and service), attorneys will typically try to settle the matter assuming the statute of limitations is not about to run.  In order to make a meaningful settlement demand, it is important that as much information (facts) as possible is gathered.  Paralegals are frequently involved heavily in the pre-litigation process.

Pre-Trial Deadlines

See the following CEB (Continuing Education of the Bar) post which lays out the pre-trial timelines:

Timeline to Trial

Paralegals: What do they do in litigation firms?

The legal profession is broad and deep.  Some lawyers are in court every day, and others have never set foot in a courtroom other than for jury duty or that occasional traffic infraction.  The same is true of those who work for lawyers, including paralegals.  The paralegal field offers great diversity.  In this series of posts, we will consider some of the tasks of the paralegal in different areas of the law.  If you have worked in any of these areas, please post a comment letting us know your impressions, likes, dislikes or other things you were asked to do on a regular basis.

Litigation Paralegals may do any, all or a combination of the following tasks under the direct supervision of the attorney:

  • attend initial client meeting with attorney and take notes
  • draft Summons and Complaint
  • draft Answer or other responsive pleading
  • review client files and gather information about case, issues, client and opposing parties
  • prepare discovery (Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, Demands for Production of Documents, Demands for Inspection of property, Request for Admissions, Subpoenas for Business Records, Notices of Deposition)
  • meet with client to go through discovery received
  • respond to discovery
  • draft discovery motions
  • draft Summary Judgment motions
  • draft response to Summary Judgment motions
  • interview witnesses and prepare witness statements
  • prepare client for deposition/trial testimony
  • prepare witness for depositions/trial
  • review and assemble documents to be used in deposition/trial
  • draft Case Management Statement
  • draft mediation brief
  • prepare trial subpoenas for witnesses and documents
  • prepare exhibits for trial
  • assist at trial

and the list goes on . . .

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure?@!?

Here’s an article with some practical tips on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure:

FRCP Readiness:  10 Practical Tips for Paralegals

Things a Paralegal Should Know . . . More on E-Discovery

To understand E-discovery, one needs to understand discovery.  Discovery is the organized exchange of information between the parties to a lawsuit after the filing of Complaint and prior to trial.  During this time, the parties will, among other things, ask and answer written and oral questions, inspect documents and tangible items, admit to facts and the genuineness of documents and obtain information from third parties all in preparation for settlement or trial.  Discovery is governed by statutes, most of which are found in the California Code of Civil Procedure.

E-discovery is a term used to refer to the discovery of ESI (electronically stored information).  E-discovery was thrust into the limelight by the passage of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Fed.R.Civ.P.) effective in December 2006 and later amended which included the adoption of several rules which included reference to electronically stored files or information.

Because of the nature of technology, the parameters of electronic discovery far exceed those required to limit and police traditional discovery.  This has caused there to be great debate in the legal community of what is appropriate and what is not with regard to production of electronically stored information during litigation.

The bottom line for the paralegal is that technology is not decreasing, so the issues relative to electronic discovery will not be going away.  They will only be increasing in importance.  Do all you can to be informed on this subject.  In an earlier post, I listed several web sites and blogs that address issues related to e-discovery.  You might want to go back and take a look at those.

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