Legal reports, which are more commonly referred to as legal memos, serve the primary purpose of informing an attorney or judge of the legal issues in a case. Legal memos primarily fall into two categories. The first category is objective memos, which explain legal issues from a neutral standpoint. Legal memos may also be persuasive and present all facts and legal arguments from one viewpoint.
Serving as the foundation for your entire memo, the first section sets forth the exact legal problem. Identifying the legal issue is not the same as identifying the underlying story of the conflict, however. When determining the legal issue, always research the law on the subject matter is first. The legal issue should reflect the applicable law on the subject. For example, if Sally sues Ashley seeking payment for a watch she gave her a month ago, a potential legal issue would be whether or not the watch was considered a gift under the law. The legal issue always seeks to identify the relevant law on the matter.
After identifying the legal issue, you must provide an answer to the question of what the law says about the subject matter of the dispute. This is not about what you think is right or wrong, but merely what the law says. For example, if the law states that a gift is given without the expectation of anything in return, the short answer will reflect this legal standard, as applied to the facts. Therefore, an appropriate short answer in this example may begin: "Sally's presentation of the watch to Ashley conforms with the legal definition of a gift because it was given without expectation for anything in return."
Statement of Fact
The statement of facts tell the reader why the present action is before the court. If you are writing a persuasive memo to a judge, it is important to tell the story from your client's perspective. If, however, you are presenting this to an attorney who wants an objective opinion on a case, keep the facts straightforward. Include only relevant facts. Narrow the facts down to only those related to the legal issues the court will need to decide.
The discussion section of your memo is the crux of your paper. It informs your reader of all relevant legal issues and how your issue should be decided. The primary goal of this section is to apply the law to the facts. Identify which legal arguments best support the facts of your case and the outcome you would like to achieve. Here, it is best to organize your section according to the legal issue or topic. Always start each legal issue by stating the rule of law that you will be applying. Follow by applying the legal rule to the facts of your case.
The conclusion of your memo should be relatively short and simply state the predicted outcome of the case. After conducting adequate research, you should be able to clearly state which parties will win and why in the conclusion. Avoid introducing new arguments in the conclusion, but state what the outcome should be under the law, such as a monetary reward or other form of relief.