How to Brief Cases
To fully understand the law with respect to business, you need to be able to read
and understand court decisions. To make this task easier, you can use a method
of case analysis that is called briefing. There is a fairly standard procedure that
you can follow when you “brief” any court case. You must first read the case
opinion carefully. When you feel you understand the case, you can prepare a
brief of it.
Although the format of the brief may vary, typically it will
present the essentials of the case under headings such as
those listed below.
1 . Citation. Give the full citation for the case, including the
name of the case, the date it was decided, and the court that
2. Facts. Briefly indicate (a) the reasons for the lawsuit; (b) the identity
and arguments of the plaintiff(s) and defendant(s), respectively; and
(c) the lower court’s decision—if appropriate.
. Issue. Concisely phrase, in the form of a question, the
essential issue before the court. (If