Shirley Uber Caretaker



Shirley Caretaker

For the purposes of this unit only, assume that Mrs. Caretaker received a decision denying benefits from the ALJ, Judge Dredd, who heard his case. You have decided to file an appeal. Additionally, your supervising attorney wants to begin preparing for a federal court appeal in the event that your request for review is denied. Your supervising attorney wants to know what standard of review the federal court will apply in reviewing the case. 

For this Assignment, you are to write a memorandum to your supervising attorney. Identify and describe the standard of review that the Appeals Council will use when reviewing your appeal. Second, you will identify and describe the standard of review that federal courts use when reviewing denials by the Social Security Administration of disability applications. Furthermore, using Westlaw or Lexis Nexis list five federal cases that identify that standard of review employed by federal courts when reviewing Social Security Administration denials. 

The memo should follow these general guidelines:

  • The memo should be of appropriate length, single-spaced. Font size 12. Arial, Courier, and Times New Roman are generally acceptable.  
  • Viewpoint and purpose should be clearly established and sustained. 
  • The assignment should follow the conventions of Standard American English (correct grammar, punctuation, etc.). 
  • Writing should be well ordered, logical, and unified, as well as original and insightful.
  • Your work should display superior content, organization, style, and mechanics.
  • For more information on properly formatting memos, please contact the Kaplan University Writing Center.

Submit your written Assignment to the Dropbox by the end of this unit in the basket titled Unit 8: Written Assignment.

Additional Help from the Professor:


The general content requirements of the memorandum are as follows:


Statement of the assignment

Statement of Facts

Legal Issue(s)/Questions Presented

Analysis/ Discussion


  • The Heading contains the name of the person who assigned you to write the memo, the client's name, and the file number. The file number is important because law firms use them to organize documents and to ensure the appropriate clients are billed for the work. You should also include the date and the subject of the memo.
  • The Statement of the Assignment (sometimes used - notes background information: who the client is, what happened to the client, and why the client sought representation.) NOT just the client's name.
  • The Facts section in the memorandum is similar to the Facts section of a case brief in that the statement of facts in a legal memo should not include every detail regarding what occurred but, rather, should only be a brief summary of the legally relevant facts of your case. Legally relevant facts are facts that the court uses to determine the outcome of a case.
  • The Legal Issue(s) section is sometimes referred to as Questions Presented. This section concisely states the legal questions that the memorandum will answer. In other words, it explains the legal questions you researched and are now going to answer for the attorney. Here you will state the legal issues pertaining to the standard of review that the federal court will apply in reviewing the case as well as the legal issues associated with the standard of review that the Appeals Council will use when reviewing your appeal.
  • The Analysis or Discussion section of your memorandum of law is the most comprehensive and lengthy part of the memo. This is where you demonstrate the results of your research. The analysis and discussion section should discuss each issue and explain any laws that may apply. Remember to always be objective and explain any laws that are relevant to the particular issue, whether they support the client's case or not. 

For this section, you first identify the applicable rule of law (this usually involves a combination, or synthesis, of more than one law) and then apply such law to the client's specific facts or situation. As noted earlier, within the Analysis section, you will often include case law. Please see my next post that discusses how to organize this section of the memorandum using case law.

  • The Conclusion is a summation of the above and should very briefly re-states the conclusion that you reached for each legal issue of the client's case and highlights the main points of your analysis that led you to reach the result that you did. It directly answers or responds to the Legal Issue(s) presented earlier in the Memo. It does not provide analysis.

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