Checklist for an Office Memorandum - Statement of Facts
Posted October 23rd, 2008 by Susan Duncan
The Statement of Facts needs to be accurate, objective, and complete. To test whether your facts are accurate and objective ask yourself whether the other side should accept these facts as true. If so, you probably did a good job of keeping the facts neutral. Remember to just report the facts in this section and avoid telling readers what these facts mean. Argument does not belong in the Statement of Facts.
To determine if you have all the necessary facts highlight all the facts you use in the discussion session. These same facts need to be part of the Statement of Facts. You may add some additional facts not contained in the discussion section to provide your reader background and context. Keep these to a minimum always asking yourself if the reader really needs a certain fact to follow the story or apply the law. If not, delete those unnessary facts which will help keep your writing concise.
- Have you included all legally significant facts?
- Have you included sufficient facts to put legally facts in context?
- Have you included any major emotional facts?
- Have you avoided including discussion of legal authority?
- Have you avoided arguing the facts or drawing legal conclusions?
- Have you pointed out any important unknown information?
- Have you identified the client and the client's situation at the beginning of the Fact Statement?
- Have you selected an appropriate organization (chronological, topical, combination) for the facts?
- Does your last paragraph give the facts closure and lead into the Discussion section by explaining the procedural posture of the legal issue or by some other device?
- Have you maintained neutral language and objective characterizations?
- Have you included both favorable and unfavorable facts?