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Legal Writing

This guide assists first-year law students with the CREAC format used in legal writing.

Statement of Facts

THIS STATEMENT OF FACTS NEEDS AN EDIT:

Rebecca took Alan into her home when he was eight years old, shortly after he lost both parents.  Prior to moving in with Rebecca Alan moved around between relatives and did not have a sense of home or family.  During the time that Alan was raised by Rebecca he was treated as if he was her natural child.  Rebecca ensured that Alan had the essentials of life when he lived with her.  She went to all of his school functions.  When Rebecca sent out Christmas cards Alan was included on the family Christmas card.  Rebecca owned a ring which had two birthstones, one birthstone for Alan and the other for her daughter.  When Rebecca became immobile Alan cared for her as if she were his family.  This close familial relationship between Alan and Rebecca continued consistently until Rebecca’s death. 
 
When Alan was around ten or eleven Rebecca filed for and obtained legal custody of him.  The topic of adoption came up frequently between Alan and Rebecca over the course of their lives together.  Rebecca even advised Alan that if she was unable to formally adopt him she still felt as if he were her son.  Alan was assured that Rebecca wanted very much to adopt him.  Rebecca expressed her desire to adopt Alan to her sister Susan and an attorney.  
 

THE EDIT WILL CORRECT THE FOLLOWING:

  1. Introduction: the legal writer skips over the Introduction paragraph, which introduces the client's core legal issue and the other characters involved.
  2. Main Body: the legal writer misses legally relevant facts, includes legally relevant facts and background facts that are chronologically out-of-order, and writes in a choppy style as though making a list of items, rather than crafting an interesting narrative that flows.
  3. Procedural Posture: the legal writer skips over the Procedural Posture paragraph that brings the client's narrative up-to-speed.

 

AFTER THE EDIT, THE STATEMENT OF FACTS IS NOW ACCOMPLISHED:

Alan Simpson is a seventeen-year-old child who lost his natural parents at the age of seven.  Alan had lived with several relatives before Rebecca Sweeney took him into her home a year later to live with her husband, Sam Sweeney, and her natural daughter, Hannah Sweeney. Alan lived with Rebecca continuously up until her death three months ago. Hannah Sweeney has petitioned to open Rebecca's estate as her sole heir.  Alan would like to know if he can inherit even though Rebecca never legally adopted him.

 

Two years into Alan's living with Rebecca, she received formal custody of him.  Rebecca often expressed wanting to adopt Alan, but she was not able to because Mr. Sweeney did not believe in adoption, and she did not think she could proceed with the adoption without his consent.  Nevertheless, Rebecca continued to discuss adoption with Alan on numerous occasions, and continually spoke with her sister, Susan Phinney, Mr. Sweeney, and an attorney about adopting Alan. 

 

During the time Alan lived with Rebecca, she provided him with food, clothes, toys, and an allowance, despite never accepting state support for his care. Rebecca attended all Alan's school events, such as plays and lacrosse games, and included Alan in the Sweeney’s annual family Christmas picture that read, From the Sweeneys.  Rebecca also included Alan's birthstone in her mother’s ring next to the birthstone of her natural daughter, Hannah. Despite this relationship, Alan never took the surname Sweeney. 

 

The Sweeneys were in a car accident two years ago that killed Mr. Sweeney and left Rebecca paralyzed. Alan cared for Rebecca during this time, helping her with day-to-day needs such as getting groceries, cooking, cleaning, and driving her to physical therapy appointments. Six months before she died, Rebecca discussed her desire to adopt Alan with her sister.  On July 21, 2014, Rebecca died without a will, and now Alan wants to know if he can share in Rebecca's estate with her natural daughter who is claiming to be the sole heir.
 

THE STATEMENT OF FACTS IS ACCOMPLISHED FOR THESE REASONS:

  1. The Introduction paragraph effectively lays out the client's core legal issue and the other characters involved, and provides just enough background facts to understand the issue (red sentences)
  2. In the Main Body, the legally relevant facts that will become the factual foundation of the analysis of the intent element are all present and in chronological order, and stated clearly and concisely (with active voice, without legal jargon, with precision, without redundancies) (blue sentences)
  3. In the Main Body, the legally relevant facts that will become the factual foundation of the analysis of the familial relationship element are all present and in chronological order, and stated clearly and concisely (with active voice, without legal jargon, with precision, without redundancies) (green sentences)
  4. The Procedural Posture clearly and precisely brings the client's narrative up-to-speed (purple sentence)