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

case brief writing2

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 the real life and real cases.

It’s not enough reading them or review, you are intended to write different documents your specialty require.

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 the legal cases.

If you will catch up how to write a case brief, it won’t seem so hard for you in future. 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!

What is the case brief?

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.

How do I start?

Before you will read the case itself you need to have an idea what legal issue this case falls under. You are going to seek an answer in it, so you shouldn’t overlook the information you are interested in. 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.  While reading the case, pay attention to the parts you are most interested in, it’s worth to spend more time working on them making notes of the ideas and important information.

Case Brief Writing

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 summary you will ask yourself questions and find answers inside the case text – this is the start of your case brief development.

What is the right structure of case brief?

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:

  1. Title and citation. The title tells the reader about the case, names of parties involved; in most cases, it initiates a legal action (e.g. plaintiff, appeal etc.). As for citation, it is included to help the reader to find the full judgment.
  2. Relevant facts. Summary of facts in your case brief is known to be one of the most difficult parts of your writing. You need to determine precisely all the facts which should be excluded from your brief. You need to exclude extra information which is not necessary to your brief; these can be the names, car models, some dates and time, where the case took place etc. You should also determine the relevance of the facts, and exclude the ones which are not needed. To make it easy for you, we prepared five questions you should answer:
  • What was the nature of litigation?
  • Who was asking the court for what?
  • Why had they sued?
  • What were the relevant laws?
  • What had been decided?
  1. Issues identification. Identify the issues which were set apart for the further discussion. Create them in the form of questions. Each of them should be no longer than a sentence.
  2. Contentions. List all contentions raised by the parties to prove the case. Corresponding ones of the opposing party should be put together.
  3. Holdings. The holding or decision should be written in the order of contentions or issues as separate paragraphs of text. Don’t forget to include the Court details and explanations of the legal principles applications and case facts. At the last sentence include the outcome of the case.
  4. Dissenting or Concurring Opinion. If the opinion of the majority is different from the opinion of the judge you should also include this information in your case brief. Yet, this information should be as crisp and precise as possible.
  5. Law points part. List all legal principles used in this particular case’s judgment. Frame the legal principles as declarative statements – they must not be fact-specific.
  6. Conclusion. Analyze the significance of the case, relationship with similar cases and new which had come out from this case. Discuss what this case reflects in terms of the science of law, the approaches used and issues if any appeared. Is the court’s decision appropriate and how it changes or confirms the existing law? Has this case been logical and consistent? Was something new included or omitted?

We hope you will find this information about case brief writing useful and we hope that from now on it won’t be hard for you to write it. 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.

If you have some tips you are using in case brief writing and would like to share them – don’t hesitate to contact us and maybe your creative and thoughtful ideas will become the basis of our next article.

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