Monday, January 26, 2009

Motion Memo

My best grade was in legal writing. It could be the fact that I did about 13 drafts of my memo or it could be that I love writing and it shows. Although, my style is lacking I am determined to train myself to write in a more aesthetically pleasing manner. After all nothing induces a gag reflex in experienced writers more than a poorly written...anything.

Our assignment for legal writing two is a motion memorandum and so on the search for help begins with . My first stop…Evan Shaeffer.


The Statement of the case must be done artfully and persuasively but not incorrectly or fluffy. State the facts but do it in a way that leads your audience (a judge) to make inferences in your favor. The question remains…How do you compel your audience to visualize your client as not only human but innocent?


Effective writing requires focus, concision, and organization all of which I suck at. You could compare me to a homely woman who has nice features…she just needs a haircut, some makeup and a cute outfit. Metaphorically speaking I think it is safe to say I have some potential I just need to put more effort into being mechanically correct.


I am eager to improve and afraid of rejection. I read blogs over and over again where the writer thinks a particular piece is their best work and then to be shot down by those that matter—the professors. The best compliment I received on my client letter was “very good tone.” My client was a mother who had a delinquent child. The professor felt that my tone was sympathetic, informative, and I framed the issues and solutions in a way that was clear to my client the non legal person without sounding condescending.


How can I incorporate my knack for a pleasant tone into a document to a judge who obviously doesnt need any “dumbing down?” Then how do I refine my organization technique, incorporate lots of citations to give myself credibility, and neutralize facts unfavorable to my client.


After I finish my contracts reading I plan to put together a plan of action for my motion memo. If anyone is interested in my plight…maybe you could offer some suggestions.


Also, besides my blatant lack of concern for proper grammar or spelling do you see any regular writing problems in my blog posts? I know I have said over and over that I am very unhappy with my writing and would like to work on it-- I haven’t made that honest effort. The goal is 3 fold…get a good grade on the memo, make law review, and be a better writer! How could someone love writing so much and not be stylistically competent?

1 comment:

ImNobody said...

This may be preaching to the converted, but if you haven't gotten a copy yet of Strunk & White's Elements of Style: Get thee to a bookstore! It will be your very best friend in your quest toward cleaner writing. Any edition in the last few years will do- pick up a well worn used copy for extra character. For legal writing, Professor Volokh's Academic Legal Writing is a must read (and re-read) before your law review write-on.

Incidentally, you aren't a poor writer by any stretch of the imagination. Happy editing!