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Jagged Rocks of Wisdom - The Memo: Mastering the Legal Memorandum Paperback – May 15, 2009

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Jagged Rocks of Wisdom - The Memo: Mastering the Legal Memorandum + Jagged Rocks of Wisdom: Professional Advice for the New Attorney + The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This is the second in a planned series of four "Jagged Rocks of Wisdom" guidebooks for new attorneys. The first book, Jagged Rocks of Wisdom: Professional Advice for the New Attorney, focused on issues of professional deportment and training. This title carries that theme forward with 21 new rules for success in writing legal memoranda. This book provides the tools to do an excellent job and avoid the many risks and dangers awaiting the unprepared.

From the Author

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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Fine Print Press (May 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888960086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888960082
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #565,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Derrick Hibbard on March 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
...Rather than from mistakes in real life.

I'm right in the middle of law school, and I had the opportunity to read this book before starting my second clerkship--where I am required to write several memos a week. This book is fantastic: short, concise and full of helpful advice.

For me, one of the hardest parts of law school was legal writing--and the legal memo is part of the foundation to legal writing.

Law school writing classes try to teach the skills conveyed in this book, but as with everything in law school, it is hard to derive all the nuances of real-life practice. This book does a great job at pointing out the aspects of the legal memorandum that are especially hard to learn from a class. A lot of the skills in this book are unique to practice: which means that you'll either learn it from this book, or by making a mistake and being corrected. Trust me on this one, it is much more enjoyable to learn from this book than making mistakes in legal practice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Paa on May 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book should be read by all first year law students. While it is crucial to understand the structure of a memorandum, Lund's book provides the "between the lines" instruction for writing a proper memorandum. Once any law student understands how to research, I highly recommend reading Mr. Lund's book to learn what exactly the attorneys senior to you want from your memo. Not only does this book instruct the uninitiated how to write a proper memorandum, it also gives the reader insight into the workings of what is actually required of you as a junior associate. Instead of learning these lessons through trial and error, do yourself and your career a favor and read this book first. Its a quick read but contains crucial information for your career and personal development as a young attorney.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Fabio, Bleeding Espresso on April 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
Lund has packed loads of excellent legal memorandum writing advice in this slim book, and quite honestly, I think it should be handed out to all law school graduates.

In Jagged Rocks of Wisdom: The Memo Morten Lund offers advice on how new attorneys, particularly first-year associates, should approach the legal memorandum. Just as he does in Jagged Rocks of Wisdom: Professional Advice for the New Attorney, Lund shares his wisdom as someone who started out as an associate and has worked his way up to partner in a law firm.

Lund begins by making clear exactly what the reader should and shouldn't expect from it. To wit, if you're looking for Bluebooking or Lexis Nexis tips, you won't find them here. What you will find, though, is about 90 pages of practical, immensely useful advice on how you should approach a memorandum assignment from a partner or other superior. Just as in Lund's previous Jagged Rocks book, his advice is broken into 21 "rules," and chapter titles include the following:

Understand the Facts: Even the Ones You Don't Know
Become Bilingual: Learn Legalese
Citations: Not Just for Bluebooks Anymore
Cut the Fluff
Impress Mr. Spock
Put a Bow On It
Understand Your Own Memo
You Are the Expert

I give it five stars and highly recommend it to anyone starting out in a new legal job, whether in a law firm, government agency, or other organization. Just as in the other Jagged Rocks volume, Lund's tips may seem like common sense at first glance, but do yourself a favor and have this book next to you when you're just getting the hang of writing legal memorandums -- sometimes even the smartest people and hardest workers can use some common sense reminders.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hades on June 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
Morten Lund's book, "Jagged Rocks of Wisdom: The Memo" is both a great gift for aspiring lawyers and a must read for anyone entering into a legal profession. The advice provided in the book may seem like common sense to anyone who just flips through its pages or just glances at the table of contents, but, any reader who takes the time read through this book will learn how to successfully and correctly write a legal memo using easy and common sense methods. Lund's advice takes what can be seen as a complicated task: (a well authored, correct legal memo), breaks each problem down (wanting to include lots of interesting yet irrelevant research & getting a vague question from a partner), and offers easily achievable solutions (focus the research to the question being asked & answering what is really asked). The reader will, also, absolutely benefit from Morten Lund's rock solid explanations and examples of as to why the advice provided is important. By reading this book much time and possibly embarrassment will be saved. Using the advice provided will help the reader to have a better understanding about the how-tos, what-fors, whens, and whys of a legal memo. Reading, understanding, and applying the advice provided in this book will definitely help anyone starting out in the legal profession and will probably win a greater respect from their professional peers and superiors.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By louiebstef on October 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
This should be required reading for ALL law students.

As a retired military officer who will enter law school in the next year, I read and truly absorbed Mr. Lund's sage advice.

Many parallels may be drawn in terms of the political dynamics of the senior officer corps of the military and the hierarchy of a law firm. In both, the polish, cogency and effectiveness of your writing bears highly on your professional reputation.

This book is designed to give all the practical advice needed to write effective legal memoranda. I particularly enjoy Lund's "between the lines" explanation of firm politics for the newly minted associate. Mr. Lund draws a thick line between the "legal writing" of law school, and the actual productivity writing expected of an associate. I especially appreciate his approach, since I have a few more years before I am actually working in a firm as a summer associate.

My copy will be re-read many times over.
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