Legal research and writing often manifests itself in the form of written documents. Some of these documents are for the internal use of the firm or other entity. Others, such as letters, pleadings, and briefs are for courts and other third parties. A principal document that is often used internally, and, at times, transformed into a letter, brief, or otherwise altered for use with third parties, is the Memorandum of Law. You will draft one of these documents for a large portion of your grade in this class.
It will allow you to practice virtually all of the skills that you will learn throughout this course. The Memorandum of Law is covered in chapter 13 of the text. You should probably read that chapter now in planning for this assignment (it will be covered in detail in Module/Week 7). You will complete your memorandum in three parts, and each part will be graded and returned to you in time for you to incorporate what you have learned into the next step in the assignment.
The Memorandum of Law that you will be writing is an objective document that will explain what the law is with regard to the hypothetical fact pattern that will be given to you by your instructor. Thus, you will not necessarily be attempting to persuade the reader. Rather, you will be reporting to your instructor (who, in this instance, will be like an attorney in a law firm for the purposes of this assignment) what you believe the law is with regard to the situation posed. Thus, you must address authorities that might be helpful and not so helpful to your client’s position. You should format your memorandum like the examples in chapter 13 of the text, include the following:
•PROVIDE A HEADING WITH YOUR INSTRUCTOR’S NAME IN THE “TO:” FIELD, YOUR NAME IN THE “from:” field, and the date and topic. •USE HEADINGS AS SHOWN IN THE TEXT. •USE A PROFESSIONAL FONT THAT IS EASY TO READ. •THE TEXT SHOULD BE DOUBLE-SPACED, WITH PAGE NUMBERS AT THE BOTTOM OF EACH PAGE and one-inch margins. Case Briefs Conduct research on the hypothetical fact pattern given to you by your instructor. Locate the relevant cases that you will be addressing in your Memorandum of Law (remember, the Memorandum of Law is an objective assignment, so you should include both cases that help and hurt your position).
Read and analyze the cases as discussed in chapter 3 of the text. After reading and analyzing the cases that you found, prepare case briefs for what you believe to be the five most important cases that you will rely upon in drafting your Memorandum of Law. You should generally format the case briefs the same way that you will format the Memorandum of Law (see above, chapter 13 as to the Memorandum of Law, and chapter 4 of the text as to briefing cases and the form of the briefs). You may include all of the briefs in one Word file.
Head the file as you will the PLAW 210 Memorandum of Law, and then include each of the five briefs as the text of the file that you will submit through a link provided in Blackboard. Your Case Briefs are due by 11:59 p. m. (ET) on Monday of Module/Week 3. Rough Draft Finish your research and analysis of the hypothetical fact pattern, incorporate the feedback that you receive from your instructor on the Case Briefs, and then complete this part. For this part, you will complete a rough draft of the actual Memorandum of Law.
Formatting, research, writing, etc.should be as close as possible to what you envision for the final draft. The better the job you do here, the better grade you will receive on this part of the assignment. But, perhaps even more importantly, the better the job you do, the more valuable the feedback you receive. Thus, it will benefit you for the final part of the assignment as well. Your Rough Draft is due by 11:59 p. m. (ET) on Monday of Module/Week 5. Final Draft Created the Final Draft of your Memorandum of Law assignment. Your Final Draft is due by 11:59 p. m. (ET) on Monday of Module/Week 7.