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What Is a Case Brief?


First of all, let’s get some terminology clear: a brief that an attorney writes is not the same as a case brief by a law student.

Attorneys write appellate briefs or briefs in support of motions or other court pleadings whereas law students’ case briefs concern one case and summarize everything important you need to know about a case.

Elements of a case brief include:

  • Facts
  • Procedural history
  • Issue presented
  • Holding
  • Reasoning
  • Rule of law
  • Concurring or dissenting opinions (if any)

You will surely get practice writing attorney briefs in your legal research and writing classes, but law students’ case briefs are an entirely different process, discussed in How to Write Case Briefs.

If you’re wondering whether you should even bother with case briefs, read Why Should I Write Case Briefs?

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