Monday, July 1, 2013

Should We Still Teach Students How to Write Legal Memoranda?

Yes, says Professor Kirsten Davis.

'The Reports of My Death are Greatly Exaggerated': Reading and Writing Objective Legal Memoranda in a Mobile Computing Age by Kirsten K. Davis.

Abstract: Is there any reason for lawyers to write legal memoranda, particularly when some lawyers report that they no longer value the “traditional” legal memo? Does the legal memorandum – a common first writing project for law students – have any application whatsoever beyond the first year of law school? Does the usefulness of the memo decrease when it is read on a mobile device?

This article takes issue with the idea that the “traditional” legal memorandum is dead. It challenges lawyers, law faculty, and law students to think more deeply about the purposes of the legal memo, its role in modern legal practice, and its readability in a mobile computing world. And it offers a view of the legal memo that draws upon not only legal practice traditions but also upon the rules of ethics, rhetorical theory, cognitive science, and on-screen readability studies.

(Scott Fruehwald)

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