Monday, April 18, 2005

More on writing memos

A reader's response to "Does anyone write memos?"
  • My view is that that the chief culprit is not laziness, or even lack of time (though those are contributing factors). The real villain is money. Beyond the big hourly-rate cases oft-handled by large firms, most legal work will not support the cost of creation of the traditional memorandum. The clients will not (or cannot) pay for the hourly rate time required for it and do not perceive it to be any benefit to their bottom lines.

That's right, I think, and it jibes with what Bryan Garner said in A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage in 1995:
  • The modern practice of law does not tolerate the type of revisory process necessary to produce a polished product--the "well managed" law firm has more work to do than it can complete in a given span of time. Garner's DMLU2 at 518.

So writing professors plow on, planting the seed of the traditional memo and hoping it grows into an understanding of legal analysis and the ability to adapt to other types of legal writing.

I've got 106 "seeds" on my desk right now.

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