This sample on how to format an opinion letter on the MPT is based upon the February 2012 MPT In re WPE Property Development, Inc.
How to Format An Opinion Letter on the MPT – General Format:
Note that the general format of an opinion is as follows:
- Body (with headings)
- Conclusion (a brief summary)
How to Format An Opinion Letter on the MPT – Specific Example:
Example of a Caption:
October 1, 2016
Mr. Juan Moreno
WPE Property Development, Inc.
6002 Circle Drive
Springfield, Franklin 33755
Dear Mr. Moreno:
Generally, the first paragraph should be a short introduction that states the purpose of the letter and provides basic information about the sender. So, it is a good idea to write the introduction last – only then will you have solid understanding of the issues. Refer to the task memo to help you determine the purpose of letter.
Example of an introductory paragraph:
The statute of limitations for your breach of contract claim against Trident on the Forest Avenue project runs in 15 days. We understand that WPE wants to avoid filing a lawsuit against Trident to avoid losing Trident’s business and encountering any adverse publicity. Our efforts to reach an agreement with Trident to toll the statute of limitations have been unsuccessful as Trident keeps on imposing new settlement conditions. If you decide to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has run, Trident may file a motion to dismiss, arguing that that statue of limitations has run as its defense. While the general rule for statutes of limitations provides that Trident’s motion would be granted, there are two exceptions that allow a plaintiff to sue after the statute of limitations has run. Both of these theories will be explained below.
Note: Generally you will be instructed to include the relevant facts in the body of your letter. Do not include a statement of facts unless the task memo instructs you to do so. If you are told to include a statement of facts, that should be your next section. The statement of facts should be no longer than six or seven sentences. Use the facts in the task memo as a jumping off point.
The next section will be the body of the letter. Use headings for each of the sections. Take a moment to bold or underline the headings so that they are easily visible to the bar graders.
Example of headings:
- Promissory Estoppel
- Equitable Estoppel
In the body of the letter, answer all of the questions asked of you in the task memo. Under each of the headings, state the relevant rule of law that you extracted from the library and apply the facts from the file to those rules. Distinguish the facts of the cases in the library from the facts provided in the file. Make sure to also follow IRAC, but take a few moments to explain any important legal concepts. Also, do not forget who the recipient of the letter is.
Example of question to answer under each of the headings (taken from the task memo):
- WPE’s likelihood of prevailing under each theory
The last section of the letter is the conclusion. The conclusion suggests that your client needs to take further action. So, be specific about what you are asking your client to do. The conclusion does not need be longer than three or four sentences. Proofread your conclusion to ensure that it is consistent with what you wrote earlier in your memo.
Example of a conclusion:
If WPE hopes to recover anything from Trident for breach of contract, it should file suit before the statute of limitations runs. It is risky for WPE to decide to file suit after the statute of limitations has run. However, should WPE choose to do so, it has a better chance of prevailing under a theory of equitable estoppel rather than promissory estoppel. I understand that WPE has to weigh the benefits of filing suit against the possible loss of Trident’s business and any adverse publicity before reaching your decision.
Please let me know how you would like to proceed within the next week.
Follow the instructions in the task memo to determine how to sign the letter.
Example of the closing:
Very truly yours,
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