• I'm happy to introduce the Styleforum Happy Hour, our brand new podcast featuring lively discussion about menswear and the fashion industry. In the inaugural edition, a discussion of what's going on in retail today. Please check it out on the Journal. All episodes will be also be available soon on your favorite podcast platform.

  • Styleforum Gives - Holiday Charity Auction 8: Cuir de Russie card case from Equus Leather

    We are very proud to present this year's edition of the Styleforum Holiday Charity Auctions, this year in support of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Spokane (www.rmhcspokane.org). Each Auction lasts 24 hours. Please follow and bid on all the auctions.

    The 8th auction is for a Cuir de Russie card case from Equus Leather. Please bid often and generously here

    Fok and the Styleforum Team.

  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Any lawyers/law students, what is a descriptive memo and advice on writing one?

pg600rr

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
2,082
Reaction score
13
So I have done persuasive memos, inter-office style memos, briefs, etc. etc. but today I was in with my Prof. whom I am a RA for and she tells me she wants me to do a descriptive memo? I am researching a particular part of the CAA (Clean Air Act), it is part 169A which is suppose to protect/clean up visibility problems in certain zones of the country. She has me looking in to whether it has been amended since it inception (as far as I can tell it has not), the legislative history (I couldn't find any for this particular part of the CAA but my other Prof. says there has most likely got to be something), and any litigation pertaining to this clause (of which I have found about 25-30 cases, some 60 pages long).

Now my question is what is a descriptive memo? I am use to getting a legal question or researching a particular question and writing a memo with my findings or opinion or in some cases a persuasive memo, never a 'descriptive memo' in the sense that I am not giving an answer to anything....

Anyone know any websites that may help, have any advice, know of any books (my two legal writing books say nothing of this type of memo)...
 

DNW

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Mar 10, 2006
Messages
10,527
Reaction score
5
Sounds like she wants a memo describing the CAA (what it is, how it originated, any amendments, etc.) and a snapshot of its current status.

If you don't know what she wants, why don't you just ask? Profs don't expect students to know everything, even law profs.
 

Connemara

[URL='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jST2Sv63WQ']
Joined
Mar 9, 2006
Messages
39,510
Reaction score
1,758
Law school sounds like fun!
 

NorCal

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2007
Messages
8,846
Reaction score
1,558
Originally Posted by pg600rr
So I have done persuasive memos, inter-office style memos, briefs, etc. etc. but today I was in with my Prof. whom I am a RA for and she tells me she wants me to do a descriptive memo? I am researching a particular part of the CAA (Clean Air Act), it is part 169A which is suppose to protect/clean up visibility problems in certain zones of the country. She has me looking in to whether it has been amended since it inception (as far as I can tell it has not), the legislative history (I couldn't find any for this particular part of the CAA but my other Prof. says there has most likely got to be something), and any litigation pertaining to this clause (of which I have found about 25-30 cases, some 60 pages long).

Now my question is what is a descriptive memo? I am use to getting a legal question or researching a particular question and writing a memo with my findings or opinion or in some cases a persuasive memo, never a 'descriptive memo' in the sense that I am not giving an answer to anything....

Anyone know any websites that may help, have any advice, know of any books (my two legal writing books say nothing of this type of memo)...

Dude, just ask.
 

pg600rr

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
2,082
Reaction score
13
Originally Posted by DarkNWorn
Sounds like she wants a memo describing the CAA (what it is, how it originated, any amendments, etc.) and a snapshot of its current status.

If you don't know what she wants, why don't you just ask? Profs don't expect students to know everything, even law profs.


I have asked, and this is what she said:

"On the clean air act project, yes, I just want you to write about the section protecting visibility in national parks. It should be a descriptive memo, as if you were trying to explain the whole issue to a client who had encountered the issue for the first time.

It would be great for you to take a look at legislative history about the statute, if there is any. If there is none, indicate that as well. Then describe the statute (with CAA and USC citations). Then describe the regulations and any amendments, changes over the years (with CFR citations), and any EPA administrative actions to enforce the regulations and the court cases involving the statute, regulations, and other materials. I know there were cases to force the EPA to promulgate the regulations, and there were some challenges to the regs, as you indicate. Describe all the claims and the rulings by the courts. If there is any law review or other commentary that you can find, that would be great to have. You might check the EPA and U.S. Park Service websites, also the Dept. of Energy websites. "

I am having trouble putting it together. Like how do I set it up as far as style and outline, how to incorporate and discuss the litigation, should I be using endnotes, footnotes, or cites directly in the text (in articles I usually use endnotes and in memos cites in the text)? Should I break down each case (brief style) in chronological order one after another? or try and summarize some together? If I end up discussing all 25 cases individually that is gonna be pretty long and boring...
 

hipcathobbes

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
Messages
141
Reaction score
2
Maybe try briefly discussing the cases, or if it's really prohibitively long, pick out the trends in recent litigation. I can't imagine each of the 25 cases changes CAA much more than at the margins...?
 

83glt

Distinguished Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
1,692
Reaction score
8
I think she laid it out pretty clearly. Describe the law = 'descriptive memo'. Start with the statute and go from there. Look up cases. Surely your law library has some books on this act and cases that interpret it. Dude, you're in law school, start thinking like a lawyer. Don't make things more complicated than they need to be. Once you're working as a lawyer, you won't have time to complicate things. Keep it simple.
 

jdcpa

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2008
Messages
126
Reaction score
0
It seems all of the above have hit it. The organization might be something like this.

1. What was the legislative history, did the CAA replace something or did it develop organically to solve a problem. (brief).

2. What is the CAA? What does it do? What does it outlaw? How does an admin agency use it? How is it applied.

3. Are there any cases / additional statues that limit / change its meaning?

4. Does it look like congress or any case law looks like its about to limit or change it.

Over all its up to you. The basics is if someone or an entity thought that they were going to run afoul of the CAA what would they need to know. What would shape their action or response.
 

DNW

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Mar 10, 2006
Messages
10,527
Reaction score
5
Your broad outline could be like this:

1. CAA: Background
2. Administrative Enforcement
3. Judicial Interpretation
4. Current Hot Topics
5. Legislative Development
6. Summary

In each of these major headings, you can dive deeper into sub-topics, depending how much space you have and how comprehensive you're striving for. Just give it some thought and you'll figure out where your sub-topics should go into these headings. You need not discuss all of the cases you've found, just include the major "watershed" cases.

As for formatting and citations, ask for Prof. as to how she wants it. If it's written for a client, you need to use as much common language as possible, and don't cite in the body of the paper.
 

pg600rr

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
2,082
Reaction score
13
Originally Posted by hipcathobbes
Maybe try briefly discussing the cases, or if it's really prohibitively long, pick out the trends in recent litigation. I can't imagine each of the 25 cases changes CAA much more than at the margins...?

Thanks for the info, it does seem quite a few of the cases reinforce some of the others or at the most give an intereptation not that far off from the earlier decision. Plus I am not focusing on the whole CAA she wants me to keep my focus on only 169A of the CAA.

Originally Posted by 83glt
I think she laid it out pretty clearly. Describe the law = 'descriptive memo'. Start with the statute and go from there. Look up cases. Surely your law library has some books on this act and cases that interpret it. Dude, you're in law school, start thinking like a lawyer. Don't make things more complicated than they need to be. Once you're working as a lawyer, you won't have time to complicate things. Keep it simple.

I have all the cases and have done all the research, I was more concerned with what the best way to put it together would be.

Originally Posted by DarkNWorn
Your broad outline could be like this:

1. CAA: Background
2. Administrative Enforcement
3. Judicial Interpretation
4. Current Hot Topics
5. Legislative Development
6. Summary

In each of these major headings, you can dive deeper into sub-topics, depending how much space you have and how comprehensive you're striving for. Just give it some thought and you'll figure out where your sub-topics should go into these headings. You need not discuss all of the cases you've found, just include the major "watershed" cases.

As for formatting and citations, ask for Prof. as to how she wants it. If it's written for a client, you need to use as much common language as possible, and don't cite in the body of the paper.



Thanks, this looks good, I think I will try and lay it out in a similar way, as for cites I am leaning towards endnotes.
 

jagmqt

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2008
Messages
190
Reaction score
1
Sounds to me like it would be similiar to the Statement of Facts in a brief or office memo...just a chronology...

I've checked 3 legal writing books I have and none the term "descriptive memo"...

Good luck.

jag
 

mishon

Distinguished Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2007
Messages
1,121
Reaction score
25
Originally Posted by pg600rr
as for cites I am leaning towards endnotes.
Then it is not a legal memo. Partners / clients hate flipping back and forth. Use footnotes.
 

pg600rr

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
2,082
Reaction score
13
Originally Posted by mishon
Then it is not a legal memo. Partners / clients hate flipping back and forth. Use footnotes.

the prof. just worded it as a 'descriptive memo', it is not going to a partner/client, so I think a LR article format is more appropriate.
 

theincumbent

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
109
Reaction score
0
If this is a legal memo: go buy a Bluebook.

It is the standard for Law Reviews across the country.

In a legal memo, citation will be internal - so no footnotes, etc.

If you are a law student just do the kind of memo they taught you in legal methods/legal writing I.
 

pg600rr

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
2,082
Reaction score
13
^Okay some of this advice needs to just stop, I was asking a question about setting up and structuring the 'memo', I am not a retard...

I have a bluebook, I use it quite often. My bluebook and all others help with cites not with constructing a 'descriptive memo'. I dont need help on how to cite.
I have written various memo's, edited LR articles, drafted complaints, jury instructions, and various other pleadings.
I have done all the research for this project.
I am in the process of reading all the cases.
All I needed was ideas on how to structure it and DarkNWorn has graciously provided that answer.
 

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

  • 1 - 4

    Votes: 30 3.7%
  • 5 - 10

    Votes: 141 17.3%
  • 11 - 20

    Votes: 265 32.5%
  • 21 - 30

    Votes: 129 15.8%
  • 31 - 40

    Votes: 70 8.6%
  • 41 - 50

    Votes: 48 5.9%
  • 51 - 60

    Votes: 25 3.1%
  • 61 - 70

    Votes: 22 2.7%
  • 71 - 80

    Votes: 17 2.1%
  • 81 - 90

    Votes: 7 0.9%
  • 91 - 100

    Votes: 9 1.1%
  • 100+

    Votes: 52 6.4%

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
429,040
Messages
9,227,483
Members
193,695
Latest member
mohammedyusri
Top