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How to Brief a Case for Law School

Briefing cases in law school is an important process in obtaining a legal education. Law school, you aren't getting textbooks to study. You get case books, which is filled with Court of appeals reports or case law. It is your task to digest and dissect the issues in the case briefs and essentially write your own text book.

1. When briefing cases understand the Socratic method of teaching. Your legal professors invite students in the class to question your knowledge of cases and to challenge your position on various issues. How you react will depend on how well prepared you are to discuss the factual and legal circumstances of each case. It is therefore important that you are organized and thorough in your understanding of the cases.

2. Start with the case name and citation at the top. Include parallel quote official journalists and Western journalists.

3. The first section is the case feat. The holding of the case are all necessary conclusions reached by the Court in disposing the matter. Be careful not to confuse the holding in dicta. Dicta is ancillary conclusions or statements of law, which are illustrative, but not necessary for the disposition of the case and which are not presidential weight. If the case contains significant dicta on an important unanswered question of law so there should be discussed separately. Some case formats include a question section, but the questions are basically the holding in query format and is repeated in my opinion.

4. The second section is the procedural posture of the case. The procedural posture of the case or history is a summary of the results of the trial court and the decisions of any intermediate appellate bodies, as well as any detention. Also include the result of the case, you briefing to provide a discussion of the prevailing parties, judgments and the appellants.

5. The third section is the actual circumstances of the case. Summarize the facts that are necessary to support the case feat. Include the names of the parties rather than to refer to the parties as the plaintiff and the defendant.

6. the fourth section is the rule of law. Cite and quote bylaws, policies, rules, regulations and cases that the Court relied on in reaching its holding.

7. The last section is the Court's analysis. Describe the Court's reasoning in how it reached its inventory, including the application of the facts to the law. Also include a short summary of any concurring or dissenting opinions, including the name of the judge and a brief summary of the opinion.

8. Strive to keep your short as brief as possible, so that you are able to focus on the relevant parts of the case. This will promote understanding and retention to enable you to better prepare for teaching and exam. Also, do not hesitate to change the formula or the order of the categories fit better to your learning preferences. Remember that the short is your learning tool, which is basically an outline and summary of judicial opinions.

 

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