Footnotes (19)



Write Me a Memo

John C. Kleefeld

University of Saskatchewan - College of Law


Canadian Legal Education Annual Review, pp. 217-228, 2010

A legal memo’s paradigmatic role is to communicate the results of legal research and analysis to another legally trained professional, with a view to helping a client decide on a course of action. It follows that a memo is balanced and objective, distinguishing it from persuasive writing, as in a trial or appellate brief. The article summarizes common rubrics for structuring a memo. The importance of facts and how they are constructed is summarized, with the emphasis on weaving together facts and law to create meaningful, specific issue statements, with sub-issues derived from propositions of law. The article then discusses the benefit of a brief answer, and illustrates four types of reasoning used in legal memos: rule-based, analogical, narrative, and policy-based. The article concludes by emphasizing some basics common to all good writing: correct spelling, punctuation and grammar; attention to style and tone; gender neutrality; proper attribution and citation; and the need to back up one’s work, deliver it in a timely manner, and follow up with the reader on the advice given.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 12

Keywords: legal writing

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: September 29, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Kleefeld, John C., Write Me a Memo (2010). Canadian Legal Education Annual Review, pp. 217-228, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1934380

Contact Information

John Charles Kleefeld (Contact Author)
University of Saskatchewan - College of Law ( email )
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 4,102
Downloads: 1,639
Download Rank: 7,398
Footnotes:  19