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Memorandum of Law Assignment

Memorandum of Law: Case Briefs

The question you are going to try and answer is: "Do the Virginia courts follow the same unconscionability doctrine as set out and applied in Jones v. Star Credit Corp.?" The

Jones case is a New York case. The citation for this case is: Jones v. Star Credit Corp., 298 N.Y.S.2d 264 (Sup. Ct. 1969).

However, before comparing the standards in your rough draft you need to create 5 case briefs. Below, I have detailed the ten steps that you need to follow. I recommend printing this document and using it as a checklist.

Step One: Read your textbook.

This should go without saying, but read your textbook. Chapters 3 and 4 will provide you with information on how to locate case law, and how to begin a case brief.

Step Two: Read all instructions.

Once you have read your textbook, read the Memorandum of Law instructions contained in the Course Content section. This will provide you with the big picture process that we will be going through this session. Once you have finished those instructions, read the rest of the instructions included in this document.

Step Three: Log-on to Lexis Nexis Academic.

For this course we will be using the Lexis Nexis Academic research service. This search engine is available to you through the myLU portal. In the MyAccess box click on the “Library” link. Once you are on the Library page, click on the tab at the top of the page labeled Collections.

Click on the option under “Electronic” labeled “Databases.” Then, click on the letter L in the

Box on the left-hand side labeled “Browse by Letter.” You will be able to access the database from this page.

For additional instructions on using Lexis Nexis Academic, click on the document in the announcement labeled “Lexis Nexis Research Instructions.”

Step Four: Locate and read Jones v. Star Credit Corp.

Your textbook suggests that you should print a hard copy of a case whenever possible.

This should not just be a suggestion, but a rule that you follow.

When you read any case, be prepared to read it at least twice. The first time you read the case, do not make any marks on the page. Instead, simply read the case trying to determine the basic information. Who are the parties involved? What are the issues the court is trying to resolve? What is the law that the court is applying? What is the ultimate conclusion of the court on each of the issues?

The second time you read the case, begin making marks. Highlight, underline, box, or make whatever marks are helpful to you. Remember, for this assignment you are only going to focus on the issue of unconscionability. Most cases deal with multiple issues, so if you locate information that doesn’t have anything to do with unconscionability then that information should not be included in your case brief.

Step Five: Draft your first case brief.

Once you have read and re-read Jones, now you can begin drafting your one page case brief. Pull out your textbook, and follow the format on page 89. You should have four sections: Facts, Issues, Holding, and Rationale. For this assignment you do not need to include any discussion of concurring or dissenting opinions.

Facts: This section should include a short paragraph detailing the most relevant facts associated with the unconscionability issue.

Issues: Since this memorandum will be a single issue memorandum, the only issue that should be discussed is how the court frames the unconscionability issue.

Holding: What is the court’s answer to the issue of unconscionability?

Rationale: This section should explain the elements/factors that the court applies to determine unconscionability, and how the court applied these elements/factors.

Remember, each case brief should be a single page.

Step Six: Locate two Virginia cases, read, and brief.

Follow the same process from Steps Three, Four, and Five. This time you are going to be reading and briefing two Virginia cases.

Derby v. Derby, 378 S.E.2d 74 (Va. Ct. App. 1989)

Galloway v. Galloway, 622 S.E.2d 267 (Va. Ct. App. 2005)

Step Seven: Locate two additional Virginia cases, read, and brief.

Follow the instructions located in the document in the Case Brief announcement labeled

“Lexis Nexis Research Instructions.” These instructions will walk you through the process of using Lexis Nexis Academic to locate additional cases. Once you have located two additional Virginia cases that deal with the issue of unconscionability, follow the same process from Steps Four and Five to draft case briefs for each case.

Step Eight: Set aside your case briefs for at least 24 hours, then edit.

For some reason, we all want to skip one of the most important steps in legal writing, editing. Set aside your work for at least 24 hours, and then return to it with fresh eyes.

Step Nine: Make the following formatting corrections.

Use 1 inch margins.

Font: Times New Roman, 12 point.

The text of each section should be in full justification, but the citation should be centered at the top of the brief.

The text should be single spaced.

Step Ten: Combine all 5 case briefs into a single Word file, then submit your assignment.

If you have drafted your case briefs and saved them as 5 separate files, combine all case briefs into a single word file.

Memorandum of Law: Rough Draft Grading Rubric

Criteria

Levels of Achievement

Points

Earned

Perfect

Excellent

Good

Average

Poor

Failing

Bad

Research:

Appropriate research demonstrated by the use of scholarly, academic sources. Primary sources used whenever possible and appropriately supplemented with high quality secondary sources. Focus should particularly be on the cases and other legal materials necessary and appropriate for proper legal analysis.

37.5 points

Ostensibly exceeds minimum expectations for the assignment in all ways. Need for improvement of assignment is not evident in any way.

33.75 points

Significantly exceeds minimum expectations for the assignment in many areas.

30 points

Exceeds minimum expectations for the assignment in some ways.

26.25 points

Satisfies minimum expectations for the assignment without additional positive elements such as additional scholarly sources, additional posts, very insightful comments that advance the overall discussion, etc.

22.5 points

Does not satisfy minimum expectations for the assignment.

18.75 points

Significantly falls short of minimum expectations for the assignment.

0 points

Does not evidence a good faith attempt to complete the assignment. Does not meet minimums in any significant way.

Writing:

Writing level appropriate for 200-level course. Appropriate word selection, organization, flow of thought, transition, grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. Clear and understandable, communicating well with reader.

37.5 points

Ostensibly exceeds minimum expectations for the assignment in all ways. Need for improvement of assignment is not evident in any way.

33.75 points

Significantly exceeds minimum expectations for the assignment in many areas.

30 points

Exceeds minimum expectations for the assignment in some ways.

26.25 points

Satisfies minimum expectations for the assignment without additional positive elements such as additional scholarly sources, additional posts, very insightful comments that advance the overall discussion, etc.

22.5 points

Does not satisfy minimum expectations for the assignment.

18.75 points

Significantly falls short of minimum expectations for the assignment.

0 points

Does not evidence a good faith attempt to complete the assignment. Does not meet minimums in any significant way.

Criteria

Levels of Achievement

Points

Earned

Perfect

Excellent

Good

Average

Poor

Failing

Bad

Content:

The student thoroughly addresses the legal issues presented for analysis. Research well used and integrated into a final product that is ready for review by and useful to a supervising attorney.

60 points

Ostensibly exceeds minimum expectations for the assignment in all ways. Need for improvement of assignment is not evident in any way.

54 points

Significantly exceeds minimum expectations for the assignment in many areas.

48 points

Exceeds minimum expectations for the assignment in some ways.

42 points

Satisfies minimum expectations for the assignment without additional positive elements such as additional scholarly sources, additional posts, very insightful comments that advance the overall discussion, etc.

36 points

Does not satisfy minimum expectations for the assignment.

30 points

Significantly falls short of minimum expectations for the assignment.

0 points

Does not evidence a good faith attempt to complete the assignment. Does not meet minimums in any significant way.

Format and Style:

Overall appearance and style of the paper. Conformity with Bluebook and other style considerations as presented in the book and course.

15 points

Ostensibly exceeds minimum expectations for the assignment in all ways. Need for improvement of assignment is not evident in any way.

13.5 points

Significantly exceeds minimum expectations for the assignment in many areas.

12 points

Exceeds minimum expectations for the assignment in some ways.

10.5 points

Satisfies minimum expectations for the assignment without additional positive elements such as additional scholarly sources, additional posts, very insightful comments that advance the overall discussion, etc.

9 points

Does not satisfy minimum expectations for the assignment.

7.5 points

Significantly falls short of minimum expectations for the assignment.

0 points

Does not evidence a good faith attempt to complete the assignment. Does not meet minimums in any significant way.