Writing a case brief can be rather easy once you’ve got the format down. Read through a case once before you begin briefing, and then focus on the important parts of the case, which will become the elements of the case brief:
Time Required: Depends on length of case
Facts: Pinpoint the determinative facts of a case, i.e., those that make a difference in the outcome. Your goal here is to be able to tell the story of the case without missing any pertinent information but also not including too many extraneous facts either; it takes some practice to pick out the determinative facts, so don’t get discouraged if you miss the mark the first few times. Above all, make sure you have clearly marked the parties’ names and positions in the case (Plaintiff/Defendant or Appellee/Appellant).
Procedural History: Record what has happened procedurally in the case up until this point. The dates of case filings, motions of summary judgment, court rulings, trials, and verdicts or judgments should be noted, but usually this isn’t an extremely important part of a case brief unless the court decision is heavily based in procedural rules—or unless you note that your professor loves to focus on procedural history. Read more…