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April 09, 2010

We really need a memo on all that?


"Terror has no shape." Maybe go to the mirror and practice saying that to your client, or to your colleagues, about some ongoing projects. Another way to say it:

Elizabeth/Justin, this project had been lawyer-ed and memo-ed out the proverbial wazoo. Let's of course do the research right away. We can get Josh/ Brittany to start on it today; they know the legal terrain here anyway, and know the facts.

But after we research it, can we do this: just do a draft of the [brief/letter/contract] that reflects what we conclude. Get it in the final product. That's where we're headed with this anyway.

No memo. All that is just "winding up"--and without ever "pitching", you know?"

"Who's protecting whom?"There are times you don't need to scorch the earth. To save time, money and relationships, just answer the question. Talk people out of the "full-Monty". Do the research, take a stand, and write it all up in the instrument you are actually going to use anyway: the pleading, the motion, the response, the letter, the instrument. Stop feeding the Monster.

Even if you don't use it, what the draft or instrument "looks like" helps everyone make the next decision, and take the next step. You can still back up critical points with smaller discrete memos, showing research and/or thought process.

And aside from necessary opinion letters, and really needed formal white papers, don't offer to write or write a cover-everyone's-ass and/or comprehensive "all-legal-theories-and-strategies" memorandum (c'mon, you big old Ivy League wuss) unless your in-house lawyer really wants it. And then try to talk her or him out of it.

The client's call, of course. But you can lead a little. If you are in litigation, test out your brilliant ideas and research in a draft brief or another document the client can actually use later on. Skip the 10-, 20- and 35-page memo. Try to make memos you do do be shorter, and reflect the group's cumulative thinking on that issue or project.


From a Holden Oliver post

Posted by JD Hull at April 9, 2010 11:59 PM


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