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dbswl

Can I ask upper years to share papers/memos?

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Hi all,

Just wondering if I could get your thoughts on asking upper years for their papers / memos / assignments that they've submitted. I see that upper years are definitely happy to sharing summaries, but is asking for papers and assignments too much? Is it considered to be inappropriate?

Context: I'm struggling with a legal memo assignment and the professor does not want to provide examples.

Thanks in advance!

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5 hours ago, dbswl said:

Hi all,

Just wondering if I could get your thoughts on asking upper years for their papers / memos / assignments that they've submitted. I see that upper years are definitely happy to sharing summaries, but is asking for papers and assignments too much? Is it considered to be inappropriate?

Context: I'm struggling with a legal memo assignment and the professor does not want to provide examples.

Thanks in advance!

As long as you are not intending to plagiarize, I think it's a good idea to see examples where people have done well in the past so you can emulate. A big part of day to day practice is starting with a good precedent. 

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Seeing a memo on a different topic should ensure you don't accidentally plagiarize, but give you the idea how a memo should flow. I'm surprised your professor didn't provide samples from previous years...that's what ours did in 1L.

However, you're right, I'm in 2L and never heard of anyone showing/sharing papers/memos, etc beyond when a professor shares anonymous samples. 

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7 hours ago, dbswl said:

Hi all,

Just wondering if I could get your thoughts on asking upper years for their papers / memos / assignments that they've submitted. I see that upper years are definitely happy to sharing summaries, but is asking for papers and assignments too much? Is it considered to be inappropriate?

Context: I'm struggling with a legal memo assignment and the professor does not want to provide examples.

Thanks in advance!

didn't think of this until now: googled "legal memo example" and got lots of hits.

https://www.law.cuny.edu/legal-writing/students/memorandum/memorandum-3/

This one looks like it has the right structure. No comment on the contents. 

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I would be careful asking around for examples like this. At the very least, I would avoid requesting examples of assignments you are currently completing from upper years who have completed that specific assignment, as such could easily be construed to resemble collusion. 

Edited by LabouriousCorvid
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Everything said here so far rings true. I have done it, but I asked someone I was very close to and promised not to plagiarize - and worked very hard to not do the latter. Also, IT WAS NOT ON THE SAME TOPIC! It was just an example of what I was supposed to be doing in that class from a DIFFERENT class they took. It really helped me because I learn by seeing things done the way they're meant to be done. That said, I also deleted it as soon as I was done with it and I did not share it with anyone else. If someone is to be so kind as to help you in this way, the least you can do is be extra careful with their work.

I just want to make abundantly clear:
1) CHECK YOUR SCHOOL'S ACADEMIC INTEGRITY POLICY before you do anything.
2) Only ask people you know well
3) DO. NOT. PLAGIARIZE!!!!!
4) Make sure the legal memo is from a DIFFERENT course, or from work outside school
5) Make sure the legal memo is on a DIFFERENT TOPIC
6) DO NOT share it with friends
7) DELETE IT as soon as you're done

Easier option? As someone else said, probably Google :)

Edited by FortifiedEight
Wanted to make clear that this needs to be done CAREFULLY and RIGHT
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Thank you everyone for your advice! :) To clarify: I have ZERO intent to plagiarize. I'm not looking for examples on the specific topic I was assigned either. My research is already done and I'm stuck on the actual legal writing portion.

I was generally looking to emulate the structure of a well-written memo. I wasn't sure if the results I got from Google searches are reflective of the memos expected by the prof. Being three months into law school, it's hard for me to distinguish what A+ writing vs C- writing looks like.

That being said, if anyone finds any other examples of a memo with a clear structure on Google, please feel free to share! 

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I got advice on my first memo assignment 3 years ago at my summer job. It was way better than any other advice I've gotten since, and I'm generally known to be a good writer by work and school.

A memo's principal job is to convey information. That should be your focus. As such, review text on good writing and go for it. Create a skeleton of subtitles and titles that will best convey your point. Then fill it in.

Then edit. Edit. Edit. And when you think you're done, edit again.

Edited by pzabbythesecond
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