The Format of a Legal Office Memorandum

Most memoranda share a common format: a heading, an issue, a short answer, a statement of facts, a discussion, and a conclusion.

The Heading consists of four lines: to, from, date, and subject (re:). You should include your client’s name as well as a descriptive subject in the re: line, as each client file typically will require multiple memoranda.

The Issue section usually contains a statement of the issue the memo addresses. Sometimes the issue is called the “question presented.”

The Short Answer answers the question presented succinctly and should supply a summary of the key reasons supporting the answer.

The Statement of Facts section, often shortened to “Facts,” includes an objective statement of the client’s facts that are pertinent to the issue described in the memo.

The Discussion section collects and describes the law, both favorable and unfavorable, applicable to the client’s situation.

The Conclusion is a short section summarizing the contents of the entire memo. It pulls together the most critical facts and legal analysis into a few sentences. In shorter memoranda, lawyers commonly omit the conclusion.

If you follow this format, you will be well on your way to writing a well-organized legal office memorandum.