How to Write the Perfect Memo Part 8 - Memo Language Editing Exercise


The memorandum opening below was written by a partner at a big firm. It is filled with examples of two of the three categories of "memo language" we discussed last week. The two paragraphs total 155 words. Start by removing the "obvious" statements and the sentences used to "explain the organization." Then see if you can reduce what remains to about 30 words.

Set forth below is a general summary of the relevant representations, warranties, and other provisions of the agreements, followed by more specific discussions of the application of these provisions to each case.

Before discussing the potential claims, it is important to note that certain practical matters may bear upon the analysis of whether Acme should pursue claims against the previous owners. One critical factor in assessing the economic viability of pursuing these claims is the financial position of the previous owners. Even though Acme may be entitled to indemnification, the previous owners may not be able to pay these claims. Environmental litigation is costly, and the records we have provide no indication of whether the previous owners have retained sufficient assets to satisfy indemnification claims. Thus, regardless of whether Acme may have strong arguments in its favor, pursuing claims against the previous owners (beyond the simple submission of an indemnity notice) may be cost prohibitive.

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has awarded eleven patents to the technology behind WordRake's capability. When you remove the bulk of "explaining the organization" and "stating the obvious," that technology will help you find and remove the remaining dull and unnecessary words for a clearer, more concise document. You can try WordRake here free for a week.

About the Author

Gary Kinder has taught over 1,000 writing programs for the American Bar Association, the Social Security Administration, PG&E, Kraft, Microsoft, and law firms like Jones Day, Sidley, and WilmerHale. His critically-acclaimed Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea hit #7 on the New York Times Bestsellers List.

Our Story

WordRake founder Gary Kinder has taught over 1,000 writing programs for AMLAW 100 firms, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies. He’s also a New York Times bestselling author. As a writing expert and coach, Gary was inspired to create WordRake when he noticed a pattern in writing errors that he thought he could address with technology.

In 2012, Gary and his team of engineers created WordRake editing software to help writers produce clear, concise, and effective prose. It runs in Microsoft Word and Outlook, and its suggested changes appear in the familiar track-changes style. It saves time and gives confidence. Writing and editing has never been easier.