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How to write a case brief
HOW TO BRIEF
The previous section described the parts of a case in order to make it easier to read and identify
the pertinent information that you will use to create your briefs. This section will describe the
parts of a brief in order to give you an idea about what a brief is, what is helpful to include in a
brief, and what purpose it serves
Elements of a brief
(a) Facts (name of the case and its parties, what happened factually and procedurally, and the
judgment)
(b) Issues (what is in dispute)
(c) Holding (the applied rule of law)
(d) Rationale (reasons for the holding)
If you include nothing but these four elements, you should have everything you need in order to
recall effectively the information from the case during class or several months later when
studying for exams.
Elements that you may want to consider including in addition to the four basic elements are:
(e) Dicta (commentary about the decision that was not the basis for the decision)
(f) Dissent