Read the case a second time. Prepare the case brief Briefing a case involves taking the published opinion and breaking it down in your words as to the facts, issues, holdings, reasoning, decisions, and references. A case brief usually refers to a summary of a published case opinion. When you prepare a case brief, keep in mind that one of your greatest obstacles will be to summarize highly technical or poorly written opinions. With practice, you will be able to perform this task easily.
Remember to familiarize yourself with your firm’s established procedures for writing case briefs. The length and formality of the brief will depend on your supervising attorney’s objectives and also on the nature of the case. You must read (and re-read) the case in order to have a clear understanding of the case. Finally, you will be prepared to begin writing your brief. Be sure to include and organize all the information shown below.
The key parts to a case brief include: the citation to the case, the procedural history (sometimes called the procedural posture of the case), the statement of facts, the issue(s), the answers(s) or holding(s), the reasoning or rationale, and the disposition of the case. Procedural history This is a brief synopsis of the holdings of any previous courts and the disposition of the case by this court. Facts This is the who, what, when, where, and why of the case. Remember, this a brief, so you can just summarize.
Issue These are the questions that were presented to the appellate court for determination. They should be worded as questions. Answer/Holding This is generally the issue presented, rephrased as a statement, either in the affirmative or the negative, with a brief explanation as to this decision. Reasoning This is the most important section of the brief, which explains why the court decided the way that they did. Disposition The final determination of the matter, generally, affirmed, reversed, or remanded. Note: Please click on the “Next” on the above Action Menu to continue to read content of this week.