Unit 6 Assignment: Communicating Effectively in Writing Through a “Predictive” Office Memo
This assignment is worth 40 points.
A legal memorandum serves many different functions. Sometimes, you are asked to take the law and argue that the law is in your client’s favor. Other times you might be asked to argue how that law specifically defeats your opponent’s case. This is known as “persuasive” writing—the memorandum seeks to persuade the reader of a specific idea.
In the “memo” below, your job is not to persuade, but rather to research, and apply the law. To “tell it like it is.” Your boss is asking you to apply a case to your client’s particular facts and let her know if the case is going to help or hurt her new client, Sam Nguyen. You are asked to make a prediction—and write a “predictive” or objective legal memorandum. This memo will go to your boss, not the court, which is known as an “interoffice” (within the office) memorandum.
From: Attorney Susan Maruca
Re: Client/ Sam Nguyen; Postsecondary Child Support
Date: May 19, 2019
I was just hired to represent the obligor in a child support case in Allegheny County Domestic Relations Court (Pennsylvania). The last time I represented someone in a similar situation, the Blue v. Blue (Links to an external site.) case was in effect. Can you pull the case in Nexis Uni, write a memo briefing Blue, and let me know if it is still good law? Thanks.
- Respond to the memo above by writing an objective or predictive memorandum.
- The memo must include a case brief using the IRAC method covered in Unit 3.
- The memo must be properly cited using Bluebook citations.
- Upload your memo
Time Management and Helpful Tips
- The estimated time to complete the legal memo is 3-4 days of daily work on this project of approximately 3 hours. This time frame enables you to review the case law and write a preliminary outline before composing a draft of the memo. It would also allow you to spend time revising your memo to achieve the goals stated in your rubric.
- Find a quiet place to write and let family and friends know that phones will be turned off during this work time. Try to write in the same location each time so that you develop a work routine. Write a note to yourself before you end your reading/writing session reminding yourself where you left off and what you want to do when you start writing again next time. These notes save significant time when you sit down again to get started. Remember, writing takes time and revision—your first draft is a first attempt to compile your thoughts and ideas. There will be parts that are useful and parts to throw away. Don’t be afraid to eliminate early writing—professional writing is a product that is built and rebuilt until it is clear, organized, and responsive to the assigned task.
- Read your final draft out loud to make sure that you haven’t missed confusing language or typographical errors that spellcheck will not catch. Clients and managing attorneys expect professional writing.