How to write a brief law case

How to write a case brief for law school: Excerpt reproduced from Introduction to the Study of Law: Cases and Materials. The previous section described the parts of a case in order to make it easier to read and identify the pertinent information that you will use to create your briefs. This section will describe the parts of a brief in order to give you an idea about what a brief is, what is helpful to include in a brief, and what purpose it serves. Case briefs are a necessary study aid in law school that helps to encapsulate and analyze the mountainous mass of material that law students must digest.

The case brief represents a final product after reading a case, rereading it, taking it apart, and putting it back together again. Who will read your brief? Most professors will espouse the value of briefing but will never ask to see that you have, in fact, briefed.

You are the person that the brief will serve! Keep this in mind when deciding what elements to include as part of your brief and when deciding what information to include under those elements. What are the elements of a brief?

Different people will tell you to include different things in your brief. Most likely, upon entering law school, this will happen with one or more of your instructors. While opinions may vary, four elements that are essential to any useful brief are the following:. If you include nothing but these four elements, you should have everything you need in order to recall effectively the information from the case during class or several months later when studying for exams. Because briefs are made for yourself, you may want to include other elements that expand the four elements listed above.

Depending on the case, the inclusion of additional elements may be useful.

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For example, a case that has a long and important section expounding dicta might call for a separate section in your brief labeled: Dicta.

Whatever elements you decide to include, however, remember that the brief is a tool intended for personal use. To the extent that more elements will help with organization and use of the brief, include them. On the other hand, if you find that having more elements makes your brief cumbersome and hard to use, cut back on the number of elements. At a minimum, however, make sure you include the four elements listed above.

Personal comments can be useful if you have a thought that does not fit elsewhere. In the personal experience of one of the authors, this element was used to label cases as specific kinds e.

This element allowed him to release his thoughts without losing them so that he could move on to other cases. In addition to these elements, it may help you to organize your thoughts, as some people do, by dividing Facts into separate elements:.

Procedural History is usually minimal and most of the time irrelevant to the ultimate importance of a case; however, this is not always true. One subject in which Procedure History is virtually always relevant is Civil Procedure. When describing the Judgment of the case, distinguish it from the Holding. Remember that the purpose of a brief is to remind you of the important details that make the case significant in terms of the law.

It will be a reference tool when you are drilled by a professor and will be a study aid when you prepare for exams. A brief is also like a puzzle piece.A few years ago, a couple of law professors surveyed practicing lawyers and judges on the quality of legal writing from new lawyers. The results?


Which is unfortunate because writing is thinking. Judges are busy. They have voluminous amounts of documents to review at any given time. Often they will go weeks, if not months, between touching the same case twice.

Any brief you put before a judge needs to:. You hopefully learned about this concept in law school. Again, conceptualize your reader: a busy, overworked judge and clerks who has a hundred other briefs to look at after yours.

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They do not have the time for deep contemplation of your brief. You need a central theme which suffuses every part of your brief. Just look at the question presented:. Simple, to-the-point, and incredibly evocative. The question effectively frames the matter presented before the Court in such a fashion as to be persuasive even before the brief has been read. The brief consistently reinforces the message that arose from the question presented.

Follow what works. Almost everyone is taught the CRAC method of legal analysis in law school.

9+ Case Brief Examples – PDF

Use it. Structural writing techniques are the basic building blocks of organizational writing that often get short shrift from lawyers. Or lawyers use them, but are completely awful at it. That heading is absolute garbage. Your eyes just glazed over. You think a judge is going to be different? Headings are signposts that let the reader know where you are taking them. Not journeys unto themselves.

A good table of contents see above lays out the briefs logical structure. It also helps the judge easily find and reference material from your brief. A table of contents might not be applicable in shorter briefs, but they are necessary in longer ones.Case Brief. Case briefing is a long-used method of studying law.

Student’s Writing: Crafting a Case Brief Like a Pro

Its purpose is to have students identify the rules of law found in court cases and analyze how courts apply these rules of law to the facts of a case in an objective and rational manner.

Case briefing hones analytic skills and heightens understanding of the role of courts in defining, interpreting, and applying law. This appendix explains one way to brief cases. There is no single standard for case briefing, but the structure below is common and will serve you well, both in studying the law now and in using the law in the future.

how to write a brief law case

It is worthwhile mastering. After explaining a how a brief is constructed, a sample brief of the case Eric J. Betty M. Purposes of a Brief. Establishes a useful means of bringing the facts of a case back to memory in a short time, for whatever purpose, including classroom discussion. Allows you to extract from a judicial decision its future value as precedent.

In other words, it helps you find the principles of law that the case sets forth. Allows for easier and smoother review of an area of law. Each brief takes a complex and long document the case and reduces it to its key facts, holding, and rationale the brief.

A collection of briefs can provide a comprehensive summary of an area of law.

How To Write a Legal Brief

Elements of a Brief. A brief is primarily a self-teaching tool; as such, you should structure them to meet your own needs. Many formats have been proposed by various writers. The method to use is the one that makes the most sense to you.

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For an introductory law class, the purpose of a brief is more limited than for either a law student or a lawyer. Also, a brief should be brief!

A long brief eliminates the most important role of a brief: the boiling down of a complex case to its essence. Several basic components of a brief are present in almost all brief styles.

If your brief style includes the following elements, you should do well:. State the facts of the case in your own words. Indicate which facts are operative, and which bear on the issues to be decided.

Be brief. Often a sign of how well you understand the case is your ability to identify the relative importance of facts.Title e. Roe v.

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Wade Citation e. Facts: Summarize the facts of the case. List only the essential facts that you need to understand the holding and reasoning of the case. In this section, you want to list what happened in the lower court s. Do not go into too much detail. One or two sentences are sufficient for this section. Form the issue questions in a way that they can be answered by yes or no. Holding: How did the court answer the issue question s? Reasoning: This is the most important section of your case brief.

Here you want to list the reasoning of the majority in reaching its decision. You can actually be quite detailed in this section. List what the law was before this case was decided and how the law has changed after this decision. Law professors love to discuss the reasoning of a case in class discussions. However, there are some cases e. In such cases, you should add this section to your case brief. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy HotChalk Partner.

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Social Twitter Facebook. Privacy Policy.Studying law is hard. And if you are a proud student of a law school we would like to congratulate you! You have chosen one of the most complicated and responsible professions out there. You are like a doctor — the future of other people depends on you. But, studying the law is not an easy game; you need to be prepared for real life and real cases.

One of the major tasks you will need to complete during your study is case brief writing. In real life, case briefs are used to file an appeal or get prepared for the reading. This document plays an important role in legal cases. So get prepared for the writing and read carefully the tips we have prepared for you.

After our small article-training, you will be writing your case briefs like a Pro lawyer! Care brief is the way you can present the case. It is characterized by the systematic structure and written to determine the most relevant facts, outline the legal issues, arguments of the parties and prepare for the listening. Case brief also should contain a discussion on the judgment. Before you will read the case itself you need to have an idea what legal issue this case falls under.

Moreover, you should ignore irrelevant information not to waste your time. If you have a large case, you may start from reading the summary and review any additional resources if there are references to them. Okay, you have reviewed all the materials, created notes and read the entire case. Now, you are ready to create a case summary. It will help you to create blocks of your case brief and clearly understand the judgment. While writing a summary you will ask yourself questions and find answers inside the case text — this is the start of your case brief development.

You have a summary. You reviewed the case, now you should start structuring your paper. Case brief consists of eight major components which you should follow:. As a law student, you should understand the responsibility you are going to take, so let your study give you the skills you need to act as an attorney successfully.

Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.Burkhart and Robert A. How to prepare a brief To prepare one, you must distill the case's most important parts and restate them in your own words. The effort will provide a variety of important benefits.

Read the case carefully and thoroughly to describe the case accurately. Describing the case in your own words forces you to determine exactly what the courts said, which concepts and facts were essential to its decision, and the proper legal terminology and procedures.

Remember: With reading so many cases in each course, your case briefs will help you remember the details of each case for class discussions and exam preparation.

Briefing cases is an important professional skill Briefing cases is not just for law school. As a lawyer, you will have to read and analyze cases with a careful eye to detail. You also will have to summarize cases when writing legal memoranda, briefs, and other documents and when making oral arguments to courts. Now, begin practicing and developing your briefing skills.

Remember, the skills you develop in law school will follow you to practice. Select a useful case brief format. There are many different ways to brief a case. You should use the format that is most useful for your class and exam preparations.

how to write a brief law case

Regardless of form, every brief should include the following information in steps Use the right caption when naming the brief. A brief should begin with the case name, the court that decided it, the year it was decided, and the page on which it appears in the casebook.

Identify the case facts. Next, state the facts of the case. This section is necessary because legal principles are defined by the situations in which they arise.It's relatively common for attorneys to reuse certain phrases or terms or even entire sections of briefs if the legal issues are the same across cases.

The danger, of course, is citing authority that used to be good law, but no longer is. It can also be quite helpful to have a colleague look the document over and make suggestions.

how to write a brief law case

With millions of briefs at your fingertips, you can save hours of time and be confident in your search results. Home Insights Articles How to write a legal brief. How to write a legal brief. Nick Borger National Client Representative.

Every standard legal brief has a few basic elements: An Introduction that articulates the party's claim and introduces the party's theory of the case and the procedural history of the case. A Statement of Facts that sets forth all of the key factual elements a court should use in making its decision. In this section, it's important to use simple, clear, and persuasive language to lay out the facts and procedural elements of the case and avoid using conclusory statements.

An Argument section that sets forth your arguments of law. A Conclusion that summarizes the key points of the brief and requests specific relief. You may even want to write this section first to help focus your thoughts. Forcing yourself to think of the whole of the case in concise terms early can help you concisely draft your Argument section. Make Westlaw a part of your practice. Related insights. How to prepare to write a legal brief Westlaw.

Insights from Westlaw and how to prepare a legal brief.

how to write a brief law case

Read the article written by industry experts and starting preparing to write your brief. How to write an effective brief. An overview of writing effective briefs, from identifying key issues to citing proper authority and crafting a legal argument.