LRW lecture two


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Legal Letter Writing - Chapters 12 & 16

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LRW lecture two

  1. 1. Basic Legal Writing – Chapters 12 & 16 Robert Mead Legal Research & Writing I
  2. 2. Tying Research and Writing Together <ul><li>What is the goal of your research project? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is the audience? </li></ul><ul><li>What legal issues did your research uncover? </li></ul><ul><li>How will the audience benefit from the results of your research? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the most important point(s)? </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>What are the legal authorities that support each point? </li></ul><ul><li>Are your authorities cited correctly for the audience? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a length restriction? </li></ul><ul><li>When is your project due? </li></ul><ul><li>Have you “scrubbed” it for grammar, spelling, and clarity errors? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Persuasive v. Predictive Legal Writing <ul><li>Persuasive – Persuades the reader to adopt the author’s legal analysis (Brief, Memorandum in support of motion, letter to opposing counsel, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Predictive – Predicts the outcome of a legal problem, without advocating for either side (letter to client, office memorandum, etc.) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Thesis Paragraph <ul><li>The Thesis Paragraph of a memorandum, brief, or persuasive letter does the following: </li></ul><ul><li>States the primary legal issue </li></ul><ul><li>Explains the legal rule governing the issue </li></ul><ul><li>States the author’s legal conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. pp. 285-286 </li></ul>
  6. 6. Topic Sentences <ul><li>Read Brief from Illinois v. Caballes, pp. 287-289 </li></ul><ul><li>Now read the topics sentences from the Brief pp. 290-291 </li></ul><ul><li>Can you get the gist of the argument from the topic sentences? </li></ul><ul><li>Topic Sentences Should Be a Road Map </li></ul>
  7. 7. Basic Writing Skills <ul><li>Use Active Voice – p. 294 – Actor, Action, Object </li></ul><ul><li>Word Economy – Avoid Noise Words and Unnecessary Jargon – p. 295 </li></ul><ul><li>Shorter Sentences are Better </li></ul><ul><li>Proofread out loud so that your ear hears errors </li></ul>
  8. 8. Predictive Writing <ul><li>IRAC – Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Issue – Legal problem presented by the facts </li></ul><ul><li>Rule – Legal solution to the problem substantiated by legal authorities (cases, statutes, and/or regulations with citations) </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis – Application of the legal rule to the client’s facts </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion – Logical outcome of the analysis </li></ul><ul><li>CRAC Is Alternative Format to IRAC </li></ul>
  9. 9. Persuasive Legal Writing <ul><li>Typically used in adversarial process – duty of candor and honesty to the court, but it is the other side’s job to present their own best case </li></ul><ul><li>A few laser beams work better than the shot-gun approach </li></ul><ul><li>Confront obvious holes in your case upfront </li></ul>
  10. 10. Legal Letters <ul><li>Transmittal letter </li></ul><ul><li>Cover letter </li></ul><ul><li>Status letter to client </li></ul><ul><li>Opinion letter </li></ul><ul><li>Demand letter </li></ul><ul><li>Confirming letter </li></ul><ul><li>Appointment letter </li></ul><ul><li>Information letter </li></ul>
  11. 11. Business Letter Format <ul><li>Name and address of sender /letterhead </li></ul><ul><li>Special mailing/delivery methods </li></ul><ul><li>Recipients names, title, address </li></ul><ul><li>Reference Line </li></ul><ul><li>Salutation </li></ul><ul><li>Body </li></ul><ul><li>Closing/Signature Bock </li></ul><ul><li>Closing notations </li></ul>
  12. 12. Fax and Email Issues <ul><li>Confidentiality </li></ul><ul><li>Prudence </li></ul><ul><li>Professionalism </li></ul>
  13. 13. Assignment #1 <ul><li>P. 412 Question #1– Write an opinion letter to the Smiths. Example letter on p. 404. Don’t do any additional research, just use the information on p. 412. </li></ul>