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Professional Legal Research Writing Notes

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Professional Legal Research & Writing: Presenting your research memorandum PLR & Writing assessed together You need to hand in a research project CHECKLIST General points Writing

1. appreciate the 'plan, write, revise' approach to Writing;

2. plan the content and structure of a memorandum;

3. practice revising a poorly written memorandum; PLR

1. determine the scope and identify the objectives of the research and address all relevant legal and factual issues;

2. identify the legal context and be able to analyse the legal issues and identify, prioritise and use relevant primary and secondary sources, including standard practitioner texts, journals, case authority and legislation;

3. keep a methodical, accurate and complete record of the research undertaken;

4. draw clear conclusions and identify courses of action; and

5. present the results of their investigation and research in the form of a research memorandum as practiced
- do not write a letter or anything else Writing and PLR

6. triple check the presentation of the results of your investigation and research. Specific points First, always ask yourself:
--> Who is the reader? How will this affect your reading?
? Another solicitor? Then don't explain concepts, cite case law fully as they might wish to look it up
? A company director? Will know certain things like company procedure but won't be interested in knowing full case law citations or statutory references
? Someone who doesn't know anything about law? Need to explain everything in simple words, do not refer to specific cases or statutes as they may be confused
--> What is the purpose of your communication?
? First advice? Explain everything, include a summary of the issues
? Follow up correspondence? Only answer specific questions, don't summarise and don't crowd the document with unnecessary information that has previously been discussed

Secondly, check: what is the primary focus of our advice?
? Present the legal issues you are asked to address and apply them to the case Tip: Work in three stages STAGE 1 - ANALYSING THE PROBLEM Four steps:

1. Summarise the problem Try to summarise the problem in a few sentences. It helps to sub-divide this in the following way:
- Person X is charged with offence y.
- State what the prosecution has to prove.
- State what the relevant law is.

2. Identify material facts Again try to cut it down. Should only be 3 or four points. Try to write in bullet points. Who are you action for?
What happened?

3. Identify legal issues Ask: How is the prosecution going to prove that person X is guilty of offence y under statute z?
Again, these should only be a few points. Tip: Really think about the problem with which you are faced. The issues are not the same as the original question(s) you have been asked in the memorandum. Consider:
? What does the client ultimately want to achieve?
? What, if anything, is the client complaining about, or objecting to?
? How might the client achieve its goal or solve its problem?
? If the ideal solution is not possible, are there any alternatives?
? What are the potential obstacles/difficulties/costs?
? What factors might make a significant difference to the outcome?
? Are there any risks the client should be made aware of?

4. Select key words Key words to searching information Try the obvious ones first - narrow down to maybe 3. You will find other relevant key words from there.

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