Civil Litigation Memorandum

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Business Finance


Many times a party feels as though the court was wrong, whether through the verdict at trial, or a case being dismissed before trial. When this occurs, a party is able to appeal the case to another court.

The trial of Billy Bob v. Widget World Co. ended in the jury finding for the Defendant, Widget World. Your supervising attorney Suzy Cue, at Alpha & Beta LLC, 432 Brown Ct, Whiteacre, would like to appeal this case. She needs a little information about the appeals process to be able to fully inform the client what he should expect. Please prepare a Legal Memorandum to Suzy, in which you explain:

  1. The local appellate court for your hometown, along with its name and address:
    1. Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit (Second Appellate District)Address:DeKalb County Courthouse 110 E. Sycamore StreetSycamore, IL 60178
  2. Any filing fee for appealing a decision of the court below ($144.00)
  3. The deadline for filing an appeal (No later than 30 days after date of judgement)
  4. The requirements for filing an appeal in your local court
    1. If you want to appeal a circuit court decision, you have 30 days after the final judgment to file a Notice of Appeal with the appellate court. This notice states what decision you are appealing and what you want to happen. You also have to take certain steps to let the other people involved in the case know that you are appealing.
      • Your Notice of Appeal must contain:
      • The court you are appealing to. For example, the appellate court of Illinois for the second judicial district;
      • The court you are appealing from. For example, the circuit court of the 19th judicial circuit, Lake County;
      • The name and number assigned to the case by the circuit court;
      • Who is filing the appeal (the appellant) and who will be responding to the appeal (the appellee);
      • What orders of the circuit court you are appealing from and the dates they were entered;
      • What you want the appellate court to do. For example, reverse the decision of the circuit court; and
      • Your address and a telephone number where you can be reached during the day.
      File the Notice of Appeal with the circuit clerk where your case was heard.Effective July 1, 2017, all filing in civil cases is required to be done electronically in the Supreme Court and 5 districts of the Appellate Court.
  5. The process that will occur after filing a Notice of Appeal
    1. There are four different decisions that the appellate court can make:
      • Affirm: The appellate court agrees with the decision of the circuit court. If you appeal a case, and the appellate court affirms, you have lost your appeal.
      • Remand: The appellate court is requesting that the circuit court do something more. Sometimes when the appellate court remands a case it means a person gets to do the trial over again in the circuit court.
      • Reverse: The appellate court disagrees with what happened in the circuit court and it is undoing the decision.
      • Reverse and remand: The appellate court disagrees with what happened in the circuit court, and the case has to be sent back to be corrected.
  6. Whether the court has a specific form it prefers to be used for filing an appeal

Then, prepare a Notice of Appeal for Billy Bob's case and attach it to the memorandum. Suzy has provided a sample Notice for you.

For assistance with a Legal Memorandum, see the Legal Memorandum PowerPoint presentation here.

Unformatted Attachment Preview

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO WESTERN DIVISION ************************************************************************* * District Court No ________ ALICE WONDER * Plaintiff * * NOTICE OF APPEAL vs. * * ATTORNEY INFORMATION INNES LAND * * * Defendant * ************************************************************************* Notice is hereby given that Plaintiff, _______, hereby appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit from the following Orders: Docket No. 75, an Order granting Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment in part, entered in this action on the 30th day of August, 2011; and Docket No. 102, an Amended Order granting Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment in full after reconsideration as to Plaintiff’s claims of fraud, entered in this matter on the 27th day of January, 2012. Respectfully submitted, ________________________________ ATTORNEY INFORMATION Legal Memoranda Structure • The standard office memorandum usually contains the following sections: – HEADING or CAPTION – QUESTION PRESENTED – BRIEF ANSWER – FACTS – DISCUSSION – CONCLUSION Caption MEMORANDUM TO: Name of person who assigned the research project FROM: Your name DATE: Date memo is turned in RE: Name of client, and a short description of the subject matter of the memorandum Question Presented The subject of the memo is a question: How does the relevant law apply to the key facts of the research problem? Thus, the question presented is analogous to the issue or question presented in a case brief. The question presented should be • sufficiently narrow • objective. • It is usually one sentence, and often begins: "Whether...." or "Does...." Brief Answer The brief answer should • clearly and fully respond to the question presented. • Begin with your conclusion: yes, no, probably yes, etc., if the question can be answered that way. • Then give a brief (usually no more than four or five sentences long) self-contained explanation of the reasons for your conclusion. • Summarize for your reader how the relevant law applies to your significant facts. As a general rule, include no citations. Facts • Provide a formal and objective description of the legally significant facts in your research problem. • The legally significant facts are the facts that are relevant to answering the legal question presented. • The description should be accurate and complete. • Present the facts in a logically coherent fashion, which may entail a chronological order. • Include legally significant facts - facts upon which the resolution of the legal question presented will turn, whether they are favorable or unfavorable to the client for whom you are writing - and include background facts that will make the context of the problem clear. Analysis/Discussion This is the heart of the memo. Here, you • educate the reader about the applicable legal principles • illustrate how those principles apply to the relevant facts • explore any likely counterarguments to the primary line of analysis you present. Analysis/Discussion Many law offices will expect • a short thesis paragraph that briefly identifies the issue and the applicable rule (without elaboration) • introductory section, which provides a map or framework for the discussion as a whole. The introductory section is also where you would mention, if applicable, information about the procedural posture of a case, about burdens and standards of proof, and about rules of interpretation pertinent to the law you are applying. • identify any undisputed issues, and explain why they are not in dispute. Then state the order in which the remaining issues or subparts of an issue will be discussed. Analysis/Discussion • You should use "CRAC" as a guide to constructing the discussion section. Use a separate "CRAC" for each issue or sub-issue. • CRAC is: – – – – Conclusion (or topic/issue) Rule Analysis Conclusion Example
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Explanation & Answer


Legal Memorandum
To: Suzy Cue
From: Your name
RE: Billy Bob, Appeal process on the case against Widget World Inc.
What is the procedure of the appeal process in state of Illinois?
The appeal must be filed within 30 days after the final judgment. In the notice of appeal there
must be information concerning the verdict reached in the case that was concluded. Additionally,
the parties filing the appea...

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