Jagged Rocks of Wisdom-The Memo: Mastering the Legal Memorandum

Jagged Rocks of Wisdom-The Memo: Mastering the Legal Memorandum

by Morten Lund, Thane Messinger

Paperback(New Edition)

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This book focuses on one of the most complex aspects of professional work for a new attorney: researching, drafting, and refining the crucially important legal memorandum. It is difficult to convey to a non-lawyer just how stressful the world of the new law associate is—the nearest comparison is to that of the medical resident—and much of the reason for that stress is the legal memorandum, upon which a client’s fate can rest (along with the associate’s). This book breaks the process of the legal memorandum into “21 Rules.” By design these rules are conflicting and even internally inconsistent—just as with the practice of law itself (and one of Lund’s first points about legal memoranda). In this, the only book available to the new attorney on the proper approach to legal memoranda, the mysteries are revealed. The process and survival will be no less arduous, but with this book the journey will not be nearly as treacherous.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781888960082
Publisher: The Fine Print Press, Ltd.
Publication date: 03/15/2009
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Morten Lund is a partner in the Energy and Telecommunications group of Stoel Rives LLP, where his practice focuses on the development and finance of renewable energy projects. Previously, Lund was a partner at Foley & Lardner, LLP. Born in Oslo, Norway, Lund is a graduate of Yale Law School. Thane Messinger is an attorney, adjunct professor of business law, and author of The Young Lawyer's Jungle Book: A Survival Guide; Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold; and Con Law: Avoiding...or Beating...the Scam of the Century (The Real Student's Guide to Law School and the Legal Profession).

Read an Excerpt

As with Jagged Rocks of Wisdom: Professional Advice for the New Attorney, some of you will find many of my rules obvious. Good for you. Others will find that they have already broken most of the rules in this book, as many rules seem obvious only in retrospect.
A critic once wrote that my advice was obvious to anyone who understands the economics of the working world. I couldn’t agree more—but the reality is that most fresh law graduates in fact do not understand the economics of the working world, even when they think they do. If these rules were as obvious as they appear, I would not have felt compelled to write this book, as I would not see and hear about these errors over and over and over again.
The rules in this book will occasionally be not just inconsistent and contradictory with each other, but also inconsistent and contradictory with the rules from Jagged Rocks of Wisdom. That’s how reality works. You can sit and complain about how the rules contradict each other, or you can go about the business of understanding how and why they contradict each other. Once you understand this, you are well on your way to understanding how to be a successful junior associate—and in time a successful senior associate and partner.
My hope is to present important information that is not special or secret, or even particularly complicated, but that somehow we fail to convey to our junior associates early on. Much like your job, these rules can be harsh and unreasonable and, as mentioned, seemingly impossible.
Your job is to navigate these jagged rocks of impossibility, and I hope in this book to provide you with helpful navigation in your efforts.
Good luck.


The examples and anecdotes in this book are real. The facts have been tweaked to be less recognizable, but each incident happened almost exactly as described. The summer associates described in the examples are actual summer associates making actual summer associate mistakes, which are pretty much the exact same mistakes made by junior associates. The mistakes I describe myself as having made are—sadly—mistakes that I actually made. I learned from my mistakes. I encourage you to learn from my mistakes as well.

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