Navigating this Blog

There are countless ways to style legal writing. In this blog, you will find various approaches to legal writing that I have found to be effective. Take it all with a grain of salt.

I hope some of this helps. Good luck!

Memo Outline

     Brief single sentence issue statement, which appropriately defines the legal question addressed and includes a few relevant facts that go to answering that legal question.
Brief Answer(s)
     Brief answer to your issue statement that begins with a "yes" or a "no" and follows with a succinct explanation of your basis for that answer, preferably including the facts that support your conclusion.
     Succinct statement of facts that includes all facts that you analyze in your discussion section and any other facts necessary for relevance.
     Umbrella paragraph(s) outlining your discussion section, introducing the various topics you will address below (usually in the form of statements of the controlling legal rules that you analyze below).
I. Subsection(s) - Your heading should be a statement of your Conclusion to the first legal rule you are analyzing.
     ¶ Your first sentence should clearly state the applicable Rule (or sub-rule).  Your next sentence(s) should provide an Explanation of the Rule, which serves as a road map to your reader by informing your reader of the topics that you are going to address in the remainder of your analysis section.
     ¶ Following your introductory paragraph comes your first analysis paragraph, where you will analyze the rule/issue identified in your previous paragraph by comparing case law facts to your facts.  When possible, start with a topic sentence.  Following your topic sentence, analyze cases that discuss that topic by stating the relevant facts and holdings from those cases.  Next, compare those cases to the facts of your own case.
     ¶ You will likely have a number of analysis paragraphs, depending on the nature of your legal issue.  If the legal issues are complex, you may even choose to further break up your analysis by subsections.
     ¶ Your final paragraph/sentence should succinctly repeat your Conclusion for this analysis section.
II. Subsection(s)
     Repeat above.
III. Subsection(s)
     Repeat above.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sample Outline:

     Whether Linda Petersen, owner of Petersen Pilates, Inc. fitness center ("PPI") and developer of a unique personalized Pilates training method, has a claim against Alexandria Dimitri, a former PPI employee, for misappropriation of a trade secret resulting from Ms. Dimitri's unauthorized use of a similar training method at another fitness center.
     Yes, a court would most likely find that Ms. Petersen's personalized Pilates plan method could be a trade secret and Ms. Dimitri's use of this method at another fitness center could constitute misappropriation of that trade secret because Ms. Dimitri should have known that her acquisition of the method was improper and Ms. Dimitri used the method without Ms. Petersen's express or implied consent.
     [[Include concise explanation of facts]]
     The validity of Ms. Petersen's claim for trade secret misappropriation depends upon whether (1) the PPI System could be a trade secret, (2) Ms. Dimitri should have known that her acquisition of the PPI System was through improper means, and (3) Ms. Dimitri used the PPI System without Ms. Petersen's consent. These issues are governed by the Colorado Uniform Trade Secrets Act ("CO UTSA"), C.R.S.A. § 7-74-102 (2009).Mineral Deposits Limited v. Zigan, 773 P.2d 606, 608 (Colo. App. 1989). Whether the PPI System is a trade secret and whether Ms. Dimitri's acquisition and use of the PPJ System constituted misappropriation are questions of fact. Gold Messenger, Inc. v. McGuay, 937 P.2d 907, 911 (Colo. App. 1997); Powell Products, Inc. v. Marks, 948 F. Supp. 1469, 1482 (D. Colo. 1996).
I. A court would likely find that Petersen's PPI System constitutes a trade secret.
   a.  Ms. Petersen's PPI System was not known outside of her business. 
   [[Analysis in the form of CREAC]]
   b. Ms. Petersen's employees did not know how the PPI System operated.
   [[Analysis in the form of CREAC]]
   c. Ms. Petersen took adequate measures to protect the trade secret.
   [[Analysis in the form of CREAC]]
II. Ms. Dimitri should have known that she improperly acquired the PPI System.
   [[Analysis in the form of CREAC]]
III. Ms. Dimitri used the PPI System without Ms. Petersen's consent. 
   [[Analysis in the form of CREAC]] 

   Ms. Petersen should succeed with her misappropriation of trade secret claim against Ms. Dimitri because (1) Ms. Petersen's PPI System is likely a trade secret, (2) Ms. Dimitri acquired Ms. Petersen's PPI System through improper means, and (3) Ms. Dimitri used the PPI System without Ms. Petersen's consent.