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Conclusion: Recap and Recommend

You have probably already delivered your overall conclusion right up front in your Introduction or in your Brief Answer. And each legal issue you discussed already ended with a conclusion.

So why write another conclusion?

A final conclusion takes advantage of the reader's tendency to pay the most attention to beginnings and endings.

Drop the final conclusion if you really don't need it and if firm memos don't routinely include it.

Otherwise use the final conclusion to add value as a summary recap and for strategic recommendations – as long as you avoid certain pitfalls.

Summary Recap

A summary recap puts in one place everything you want to draw to the reader's attention.

Some lawyers want a final conclusion so they can just turn to the last page. The convenience of knowing exactly where to go to read the bottom line trumps any minor annoyance from repetition.

Some firms use the conclusion to categorize the memo for the firm's information retrieval system or memo bank. The conclusion has great value here.

A memo with many sub-issues or complicated discussions benefits from a summary tying the issues together. Your final conclusion can:

Strategic Recommendations

This is your chance to focus on results, to think strategically and creatively, and to offer the best solution to the client's problem.

Here is where you demonstrate your judgment and your value as a member of the client's legal team.

Conclusion Pitfalls: The Must Not Do List

Use the conclusion to conclude.