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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Legal Writing – What’s it all about?

Many paralegals (and even some lawyers) report writing as the weakest skill area, especially legal writing.

Legal writing (writing done most often by lawyers and paralegals) breaks down into the following categories:

  • Correspondence (letters, emails, inter-office memos regarding facts)
  • Declarations (used as factual support of motions or other documents files with the court)
  • Memoranda of Law (persuasive or objective analysis of a legal issue with supporting primary sources of law)

These categories cover about 90% of the writing done by lawyers and paralegals.  Each of these categories of writing requires a slightly different set of writing skills in addition to the basics of spelling, punctuation, grammar, structure and style.  Mastering all three is essential for a successful paralegal.

Several upcoming posts will go into more detail about each type of writing.  Feel free to post specific questions if you have them.

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