Legal Internal Memo Template

Legal internal memo template

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Legal Memorandum Format Sample
On the following pages is a legal memorandum formatted the way your memos in this class
should be formatted. The substance of this memo comes from Appendix A of the Wellford text

The formatting follows the “Visual Rhetoric” instructions on pages 57-59 of this Supplement

We will refer to this memo frequently throughout the semester as an example of the various
components of legal analysis

The purpose of including the memo in this supplement is only to demonstrate how your memos
should be formatted. Pay particular attention to the following features of this memo:
* the spacing and content of the heading (in particular, notice that the information in
each field – to, from, re, date – is tabbed so that each piece of information lines up
vertically with the other pieces)
* the Arial, bold typeface of the document heading as well as the headings of all
sections of the memo
* the page numbering at the bottom of each page after the first
* the single-spacing of the Question Presented and Short Answer and the double-
spacing of the rest of the memo (your open memos will have more than one
Question Presented and Short Answer – in that case, single space within each
Question and Answer, but double-space between each Question and Answer)
* the left justification rather than full justification (full justification alters the
spacing of citations)
If you are not familiar with formatting documents in WordPerfect or Word, you should consult
the formatting instructions at the back of this supplement. All formatting is designed to
maximize reader understanding of your work as described in “Visual Rhetoric: Enhancing
Reader Comprehension with Graphic Design.” As the issues and, therefore, the formatting of
your documents becomes more complex toward the end of the semester, we will return to this
issue of reader comprehension and graphic design again

TO: Chief of Felony Prosecutions
FROM: Assistant Prosecutor
RE: Gerry Arnold case – Residential Burglary Prosecution
DATE: August 28, 2005
Question Presented
Is a detached garage a “living quarters” in which the owners actually reside under Illinois’
Residential Burglary Statute, when it has been converted into a retreat for the owners’ college-
age son, who uses it on a weekly basis as a get-a-way and sleeps there half the year, although the
retreat does not have plumbing facilities?
Short Answer
Yes. A detached garage used as a retreat and seasonal sleeping place is a “living quarters” under
the statute. The owner frequently and regularly uses the garage for residential activities
associated with a living quarters. The garage is furnished to reflect that use

Statement of Facts
On August 20, 2005, Defendant, Gerry Arnold, broke into Carl and Rita Stripe’s two-car
detached garage and removed some of their personal property. The State has charged Arnold
under the Residential Burglary Statute. Arnold’s attorney has moved to dismiss the charge,
contending that the Stripe’s garage is not a “dwelling” within which the Stripes “reside,” as
required by the statute

The garage is located approximately thirty feet behind the Stripe home. The Stripes have
converted two-thirds of the garage into quarters for the couple’s college-age son, Michael Stripe,
to use as a get-a-way. They have walled-off that section of the garage from the section that stores
the family car. The converted section of the garage has a window and a locked door

Michael spends two to three evenings a week and his free time on weekends in the get-a-
way, writing and listening to music and watching television. In addition, Michael is the lead
singer of a band, R.E.N., that plays once a month in clubs around town. The band practices in
the garage on Sunday mornings and stores some of their equipment there. During the summer
and fall when his parents are in town, Michael sleeps in the garage on a futon in a loft area

When his parents travel to Florida during the winter and spring, Michael sleeps in the house

The garage is equipped to accommodate Michael’s interests. In addition to the futon, the
garage contains an expensive sound system, a portable five-inch television, and a mini-
refrigerator. The garage has electricity and a space heater, but no running water or heat

The Stripe garage is a dwelling under Illinois’ Residential Burglary Statute (the
“Statute”). To prosecute Arnold successfully under the State, the State must prove that Arnold
“knowingly and without authority enter[ed] the dwelling place of another.” 720 Ill. Comp. Stat

§ 5/19-3 (2000) (emphasis added). There is no real dispute that Arnold “knowingly” entered the
Stripe’s garage or that his entry was “without authority.” Whether the garage is a “dwelling
place” is more problematic. The Statute defines a dwelling as “a house, apartment, mobile home,
trailer or other living quarters in which . . . the owners or occupants actually reside. . . .” 720 Ill

Comp. Stat. § 5/2-6(b) (2000) (emphasis added). This memorandum addresses whether the
Stripe garage is a “living quarters” in which Michael Stripe “actually resides.”
The Stripe’s garage is a “living quarters” in which Michael Stripe “actually resides.”
When determining whether a structure is a living quarters, courts evaluate the type of activities
for which the owners use the structure, as well as the frequency of those activities and physical
evidence of those activities. A structure is considered a dwelling when the owners frequently use
the structure for activities that occur in a living quarters, and the furnishings reflect that use

People v. McIntyre, 578 N.E.2d 314 (Ill. App. Ct. 1991). Although a structure’s attachment to
the main residence is also relevant, physical attachment to the primary residence is not necessary

See People v. Thomas, 561 N.E.2d 57 (Ill. 1990). Therefore, a structure used as an extension of
the home’s living quarters may be a dwelling even though it is not physically connected to the
primary residence. Because Michael Stripe frequently and regularly uses the Stripe garage as a
living quarters, it satisfies the statutory definition of “dwelling.”
An enclosed, attached porch frequently used as part of the home’s living quarters is a
dwelling under the residential burglary statute. In People v. McIntyre, the owners used an
attached, screened porch for “sitting, eating and cooking.” 578 N.E.2d at 315. They ate most of
their meals on the porch in the summer and cooked meals there four or five times a week in the
winter. The owners furnished the porch with wrought-iron furniture and a barbecue grill that
reflected its use. The porch was enclosed, locked, and attached to the home. The court held that,
under these facts, the porch was a “living quarters” under the Statute. Id

The court reasoned that the owners used the porch as part of their living quarters by
engaging in such activities as “sitting, eating, and cooking.” Id. In addition, the owners regularly
used the porch in this manner and furnished the porch with furniture and a grill that reflected
such use. The court also observed that the porch was enclosed and attached to the house,
indicating that the porch’s physical attachment to the house was a relevant factor. However, the
court emphasized that it was the activities of “sitting, eating, and cooking” that “make the porch
part of the living quarters of the house.” Id

On the other hand, where a structure is attached, but used only for commercial, rather
than residential activities, it is not a living quarters. People v. Thomas, 561 N.E.2d 57 (Ill. 1990)

In Thomas, a garage was attached to a multi-unit apartment building. All of the garages and
apartment units shared the same roof. The owner used the garage to park her car and to store
large quantities of perfume for a commercial business. The court held that the attached garage,
“at least in this instance,” was not a living quarters. Id. at 58

The court implicitly reasoned that a garage used only to store products for sale in a
commercial business is not a living quarters, even when attached to the owner’s apartment
building. However, the court left open the possibility that a garage could, given the appropriate
use as a living quarters, constitute a dwelling under the Statute. The court reasoned that “an
attached garage is not necessarily a ‘dwelling’ within the meaning of the residential burglary
statute.” Id. (emphasis added). That language implies that a garage, appropriately used as a
residence or living quarters, could be a dwelling under the statute. See also People v. Silva, 628
N.E.2d 948, 953 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993) (noting that Thomas left open the possibility for a garage to
be a dwelling under the statute)

Like the porch in McIntyre, Michael Stripe used the Stripe’s garage for activities
commonly associated with a living quarters. Like the activities of “sitting, eating and cooking”
in McIntyre, Michael Stripe’s use of the garage for playing and listening to music, watching
television, and eating snacks are uses commonly associated with a living quarters. In addition,
Michael Stripe’s use of the garage as a sleeping quarters during the summer and fall only
strengthens the argument that the garage is a dwelling under the Statute. Unlike the McIntyre
activities of barbecuing, eating, and sitting, which can occur outside of a dwelling, sleeping is an
activity uniquely associated with a living quarters. Moreover, Michael Stripe’s use of the garage
is clearly distinguishable from Thomas, where the owner used the garage only for storage

In addition, like the owners in McIntyre, Michael Stripe furnished the garage in a manner
that reflects its use as a living quarters. Like the grill and wrought-iron furniture in McIntyre,
Michael Stripe’s sound system, small t.v., mini-refrigerator, and futon reflect that he uses the
garage for activities typically associated with a living quarters. Again, the furnishings are a far
cry from the garage in Thomas, which housed only the owner’s car and boxes of commercial
products for sale

Finally, the frequency of Michael’s use of the garage as a living quarters is also similar to
the use of the porch in McIntyre. Michael spends at least two to three evenings a week and his
spare time on weekends in his get-a-way. During the summer and fall, he sleeps there seven
nights a week. Michael’s regular and frequent use far exceeds the owner’s limited, occasional
use of the garage in Thomas to retrieve her car or perfume products from storage. In fact, in
August when the garage was burglarized, Michael’s frequency of use even exceeded that of the
owners in McIntyre, who used the porch only four to five times a week

Defendant may argue that, despite Michael Stripe’s frequent use of the garage for
activities associated with a living quarters, the garage’s physical detachment from the Stripe’s
home prevents it from being a “living quarters” in which the owners “reside.” Under this theory,
the defendant would argue that the garage, standing alone, is not a living quarters in which
anyone resides. The garage has no running water, bathroom facilities or heat. Thus, the garage’s
status as a dwelling is dependent upon whether it can reasonably be viewed as an extension of the
Stripe family’s living quarters within the home itself. The defendant would argue that the fact
that the McIntyre porch was physically attached to the family’s home was essential to the court’s
holding. Only because it was physically attached to the home could the porch reasonably be
viewed as an extension of the family’s living quarters. In contrast, the Stripe’s garage stands
thirty feet away from their residence

While having some merit, this argument should fail. Although the McIntyre court did
note that the porch was physically “attached and enclosed,” it concluded that it was the owners’
“activities” and use of the porch that made the porch “part of the living quarters of the house.”
578 N.E.2d at 314. Thus, the court implied that the activities for which the porch was used were
more important than the porch’s attachment to the home. Moreover, the fact that the porch was
separated from the utility room of the owners’ home by a door with “three locks” lends less
significance to the attached/detached distinction. The presence of three locks implies that the
porch area was not an open part of the main residence. Like the physically separate porch in
McIntyre, the Stripe garage is used as an extension of the Stripe family’s living quarters

People v. Thomas lends further support to this conclusion. In Thomas, the court
minimized the importance of the garage’s physical attachment to the main residence while
emphasizing the garage’s use. The court reasoned that “[a] garage, at least in this instance,
whether attached to the various living units or not, cannot be deemed a residence or living
quarters.” 561 N.E.2d at 58 (emphasis added). By that statement, the court implied that the
garage’s physical attachment to the owner’s home was not important. That statement, together
with the court’s earlier definition of a dwelling as a structure used as a “living quarters,” implies
that a detached garage used as a living quarters would be a dwelling under the statute. Therefore,
the fact that the Stripe’s garage is physically detached from their residence does not deprive it of
its status as a “living quarters” in which the owners “actually reside.”
Defendant might also argue that the legislative history suggests that the legislators did not
intend for the statute to cover structures such as garages. As the court noted in People v. Silva,
629 N.E.2d 948 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993), the legislature amended the statute in 1986 to clarify and
narrow the meaning of the term “dwelling.” The court quoted the following statement of Senator
Sangmeister made during legislative hearings: “It was even brought to our attention by the
Illinois Supreme Court in a number of cases that . . . there should be a better definition to the
dwelling house. We are having people prosecuted for residential burglary for breaking into . .

unoccupied buildings such as garages.” Id. at 951 (emphasis added)

This argument lacks merits. The Silva court noted that “[t]he residential burglary statute
is designed to protect the ‘privacy and sanctity of the home,’ with a view toward the ‘greater
danger and potential for serious harm from burglary of a home as opposed to burglary of a
business.’” 629 N.E.2d at 951 (quoting People v. Edgesto, 611 N.E.2d 49 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993))

Senator Sangmeister’s concern that people are being prosecuted for breaking into “unoccupied
buildings” is consistent with the general legislative purpose to deter residential burglary because
of its potential for serious harm. An occupied garage used as a living quarters invokes the same
legislative concerns for the sanctity of the home and the increased risk of harm that results from
an invasion of that home. Moreover, the Illinois Supreme Court decided the Thomas case only a
few years after the amendment. In Thomas, the court suggested that a garage used as a living
quarters would be a dwelling under the statute

The Stripe’s garage is a living quarters in which Michael Stripe resides for purposes of
prosecuting Arnold under the Statute. Not only does Michael Stripe use the garage for residential
activities, he uses it frequently and regularly


Michael spends two to three evenings a week and his free time on weekends in the get-a-way, writing and listening to music and watching television. In addition, Michael is the lead singer of …

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What is legal memorandum sample?

What Is a Legal Memo? A legal memo is a written document that contains summarized details of a particular case. Among the facts and bits of information written within will include citations from specific legal authorities. Taking a look at any sample legal memo will reveal that, like other memo types, its contents remain concise and to the point.

What is an internal legal memorandum?

What Is Internal Memo Of Law? You should draft a legal memorandum in order to present your research in a formal, polished, and comprehensive manner. By means of a comprehensive analysis, this process makes comparisons between relevant legal laws and points of fact. It has been shown that in law firms, the memorandum is vital evidence.

What is a legal memo?

A legal memo, also known as a legal memorandum, is a way for an attorney to support their case with relevant facts. They can be delivered either as a paper document or an eDoc.

How do you format a legal memorandum?

Simple Steps For Memo Format

  • Title: The word “Memorandum” should be in a significantly larger font, bolded and either centered or placed in the top left-hand corner.
  • Recipient: Begin this heading with “TO:” and write down your recipient (s).
  • Source: Immediately after the recipient, write “FROM:” along with your name and position.

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