The Legal Research and Writing Handbook

Case Analysis
Comparing and contrasting decisions to assess the outcome of an issue posed by a factual scenario.

Case Brief
Summarize a court opinion.

Case citation
An address indicating where the cited material can be found so that anyone reading yoru document can find the material if he or she wants to. The abbreviations must be consistent so that everyone know what they mean.

Dicta
A statement made by a court concerning an issue other than one the court was asked to decide.

Disposition
This is procedurally what the court did after it decided the appeal. Did the court: Remand the case? Reverse the trial court’s ruling? Affirm the trial court’s ruling? A combination of remand and reverse or affirm.

Facts Statement
A summary of the information tht is relevant to the determination of whether a legal claim exists or whether a defense to such a claim can be made. It is also a summary of the status of a pending case.

Fact
May be a thing that is known with certainty. It can be an event. It can be an observation. The Story of a case. The incident or accident or thing that lead to a lawsuit being filed. It happened before filing of the lawsuit or any actions in the trial court.

Holding
The court’s answer to the issue or question presented. The rule of law established by the court. Answers the issue question(s) with a Yes or No then 1 or 2 sentences explaining WHY!

Issue
The questions the parties ask the court to decide.

Legally significant fact
Facts that will have an impact on a jury’s or judge’s decison.

Procedural History
These facts explain the status of the case. Summarize how the case traveled through the court system to reach this point.

Rationale
Reasoning, explain the the law the court relied on in making a decision.

Reasoning
how the court developed the rule of law and how it relates to the facts of the case.

Relevant Facts
Facts that may have an effect on the legal issues decided in a particular action.

Rule of Law

Brief Answer
Follows the Questions Presented or Issues Section in your Legal Memorandum. A short statement that directly answers the question or questions presented

Conclusion
Follows the Questions Presented or Issues section in your Legal Memorandum. It Is also an answer to the question presented and a summary of the discussion section. Does not have a set length but is generally longer than a brief answer. It is not a detailed or in-depth discussion of the legal issue presented in the case. It should include legally significant facts and the applicable legal standard. You must answer the question presnted and provdie the best prediction concerning the outcome fo the case.

Discussion
Follows the facts in your Legal Memorandum. Here you will explain the current state of the applicable law, analyze the law, and apply the law to the legally signficant facts noted in the facts statement. Application of law to the client’s facts. Written in IRAC format. Tell the reader the general rule using a statute, case, regulation or rule. Use facts to analogize or distinguish the client’s facts to the law.

Facts Statement
Following the conclusion or brief answer, include a facts statement that explains the status of the case and all the facts that might have a bearing on the outcome of a client’s case.

Heading
The first part of the memo. To: From: Date: Client: Re: Should be short, sweet and to the point.

Issues
Question Presented and Issues are the same thing. specific legal question the attorney asked you to research and analyze. Phrased as a question. Reference both fact and law:

Legally Significant Facts
Facts that might have a bearing on the outcome of a client’s case.

Memo Banks
A file in a lawfirm database where a Memo will be saved so attorneys and paralegals may review the Memo.

Office memorandum
Often called a Memo. Explans in an objective rather than a persuasive or argumentative manner the current state of the law regarding an issue. It clarifies how that law applies to a client’s transaction or legal dilemma.

question presented
Specific legal question the attorney asked you to research and analyze. Phrased as a question. references both facts and law.

brief answers
Answers the question presented/issue with a Yes or No first and then answers the brief answer with a few sentences or reason(s) why. Similar to a holding.

Conclusion
Summarizes the analysis or discussion section in more detail. Very Similar to the brief answer, but may include more references to the law and in more in depth. Very similar to the brief answer but on STEROIDS.

Issues
Questions Presented and Issues are the same thing. (Gives you through the facts the crux of the analysis) Specific legal questions the attorney asked me to research and analyze. Phrased as a question. References both facts and law.

Legally Significant Facts