Case Brief Assignment Writing Tips
How to Write a Legal Brief Paper
Case brief assignment is a task that requires following specific standards. Every students will have to deal with it sooner or later and that is why, it is important to know how to deal with this assignment before you get one from your professor. If you do not know how to write a legal case brief, you should remember that this paper type deals with a specific case that has to be analyzed. Usually, this assignment is no longer than one page. However, it may exceed this word limit if the case requires more detailed description. The other things that has to be paid attention to is headings usage. They have to be written in bold. Besides, the headings presented in the brief case should be as listed further in the article. Case brief assignment is usually presented in class and, that is why, a student must be well aware of the case he is dealing with, as well as with the note cases that follow the case.
If you want to know how to write a legal case brief, you will have to follow this structure:
- Title and Citation: Here you will have to provide the name of the case, citation from the text and the year of publication.
- Procedural History: This part of brief should contain information on the case history. You should name the state where it originated, the name of the court that dealt with the case, other appeal courts and the information on the court from which the information for brief was taken.
- Summary of Facts: This part of the paper contains information on the situation that led to the case. It should be done in an understandable manner so the readers could easily comprehend the whole story line. After reading this section, the readers must be able to discuss the case even without knowing about it much. Some writers find it very complex, as they are supposed to divide relevant information from the irrelevant one and present the data in own words.
- Issues: The issues before the court should be provided by the writer in the brief. However, the writer needs to make sure that only relevant issues are presented in the paper. After the issues are identified, they should be listed separately.
- Holding: Considering the fact that the holding of the court can be provided in one word: for example, affirmed, denied, remanded, affirmed in part, etc., you should not limit to this one word. You are supposed to explain in, at least, one sentence, what it means. The complexity of this part of the paper is that the holding may change as it travels from one court to the other one (for example, from the decision of the trial court to the appellate courts and further to the final court).
- Opinion/Reasoning: One of the most difficult parts, though, is Opinion/Reasoning. The deal is that the reasoning of the court can be difficult to explain as it may refer to other cases. As a result, you must be aware of similar cases, to understand why this and not that opinion was taken. The task of a writer in this case is to provide clear explanation of court’s decision. Nevertheless, the explanation should be short and informative. The size of this section is usually one paragraph and it is provided in own words. You may use quotes from the court but the explanation to is should still be provided in own words.
- Concurring Opinion: This section is relatively short and usually composed of approximately two sentences. It provides the opinions of those judges who agree with the decision of a majority but still express different viewpoint and reasoning in regard to the final decision.
- Dissenting Opinion: In some cases, the judge/s may not agree with the opinion of a majority. Consequently, they provide reasoning different from the ones identified by their opponents. As a result, by following the structure the same as in the previous two sections, you will have to provide a paragraph that is shorted than court’s reasoning but longer than the section Concurring Opinion.
- Your Opinion: This section requires a writer to provide personal opinion on the case. You will have to provide your own reasoning in a simple language. In case you agree or disagree with the reasoning of the court, you will have to explain why you thing the court was right or not in this case and provide clear examples. Your reasoning will be used to support your conclusion and it should be written in own words. The length of this section is approximately one paragraph.
- Questions: In this section, you are supposed to provide list of question you have in regard to court reasoning and the case in general. If you think that not enough facts were provided and whether you wonder how it could influence the case, you can express this thought in a form of a question. The questions may also include your suggestion regarding what other issue could have been raised in the case to change the final decision.