Case Briefing Guides and How-To's

Case briefing is not rocket science, but it is certainly an art. As an art, there is no such thing as a "correct brief" which would be the same irrespectively of who's written it. Also, being an art, most guides will differ on what's important to include in a brief or on how it should be divided. You'll see that, notwithstanding case briefs being required for grading in this course, they are ultimately a personal tool to help you study and practice Law: if the briefs you've prepared help you answer my questions in class correctly, if they help you prepare for a meeting with a client or competently argue a case in court, then your briefs are perfect.

There are, however, some things in which all guides concur: 1) briefs should be brief, 1 page at most, and 2) all briefs should include at least the legal issue in question, the rule or rules applied by the Court, and the reasoning by which the Court arrived at its conclusion. The names given to each of these sections varies, but all must be present for a brief to be minimally useful.

The facts of the case (who did what, when, how, to whom) are almost always useful, more so than the procedural history of the case (how the case wriggled its way through the judicial system) - which may or may not be relevant to understanding the case - or the Judgment (the actual decision the court handed in the case) - one example: most lawyers who cite Marbury v. Madison correctly probably do not know whether William Marbury finally got the commission he was refused by James Madison... 

Instructions and model briefs can easily be found online. This one is probably the briefest of brief briefing guides, and where you'll find the description of the IRAC method I mentioned in the description of this course topic (read at least this guide before class!). LawNerds has a good and straightforward guide on briefing (the entire 6-step workshop is useful, and you'll most likely curse the fact you have not stumbled upon it as a freshman). Other guides may be found herehere (you'll certainly find the model brief this guide provides particularly interesting for this course), here, here (this guide has some interesting basic information about judicial procedure that will certainly be of use).

Chapter two of this book by Barbara Fines contains a somewhat longer explanation of case briefing, but I'm sure you'll find it useful. Finally, this excerpt from Toni Fine's "Introduction to the Anglo-American Legal System" has some insight on briefing and working with case law that will most likely interest you.

Última atualização: segunda, 5 mar 2018, 00:17