The law that answers your problem depends on your case's facts. So for your first task, you must get the facts.87
Ultimately, you will want to collect only the legally relevant facts,88 but you cannot know all the legally relevant facts until you know the law that applies; and you cannot know the law that applies until you know all the legally relevant facts. Each depends on the other.89
To solve this puzzle, record all the kinds of facts listed below and leave it to the later Steps to sort the relevant facts from the irrelevant facts.90 Then come back to Step 1 to find even more relevant facts. Shuttle between the Steps until you think you have found all or most of the relevant facts.
Although this Step focuses on the legally relevant facts, also keep in the back of your mind 'emotionally significant facts'91 that you can use later to tell your client's 'story' in Step 8.92
87 See, for example, Erwin C Surrency et al, A Guide to Legal Research (1959) 8 (before anyone can begin research on a legal problem, they must get the complete facts).
88 In other words, 'legally significant facts' or 'material' facts. See Robert A Kessler, 'Analysis of the Problem' in William R Roalfe (ed), How to Find the Law (6th ed, 1965) 13–4 ('legally significant' facts mean 'those which will be important in determining the outcome, those which a court will consider relevant in reaching a decision, or which you will have to know to draft a document to cover all the needs of your client'); John H Wade, 'Meet MIRAT: Legal Reasoning Fragmented Into Learnable Chunks' (1990/91) 2 Legal Education Review 283, 285 ('A "material" fact can be described as a fact which is of vital importance to a line of deductive reasoning in order to solve a problem or to give helpful advice on a range of options in response to a particular or social problem'); Richard K Neumann Jr, Legal Reasoning and Legal Writing: Structure, Style, and Strategy(5th ed, 2005) 36–7 (describing 'determinative' or 'essential' facts); Laurel Currie Oates and Anne Enquist, The Legal Writing Handbook: Analysis, Research, and Writing (2006) 120 (describing 'legally significant facts').
89 See Girvan Peck, Writing Persuasive Briefs (1984) 113; Margot Costanzo, Essential Legal Skills: Problem Solving (1995) 117; Mary Ellen Gale, 'Legal Writing: The Impossible Takes a Little Longer' (1980) 44 Albany Law Review 298, 313.
90 Robert A Kessler, 'Analysis of the Problem' in William R Roalfe (ed), How to Find the Law (6th ed, 1965) 14–5.
91 Laurel Currie Oates and Anne Enquist, The Legal Writing Handbook: Analysis, Research, and Writing (2006) 122.
92 Ruth Anne Robbins and BJ Foley, 'Fiction 101: A Primer for Lawyers on How to Use Fiction Writing Techniques to Write Persuasive Facts Sections' (2001) 32(2) Rutgers Law Journal 459, 472. See further Step 8.