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Case Briefing

What is a Case Brief?
A case brief is a concise summary of the case designed to help you to learn and to recall the material learned in class.

What does a Case Brief look like?
A case brief contains enough information for you to be able to recite the facts of the case, give the rule of law, describe how the judge applied the rule of law to the facts, and explain the final decision of the court.

Should I brief every case?
Absolutely! A case brief allows you to synthesize the material into a condensed version that is easy to read and recall. Cases that are found in the notes need not be briefed, but if they are mentioned along with the rule of law that was presented in that case, then it is best to at least include that information in your notes.

When should I start briefing cases?
From day one! During orientation, you will get a little practice with creating case briefs, but as you begin to prepare for classes you should be preparing case briefs.

Why shouldn’t I use canned case briefs?
Canned briefs (such as Legalines and HighCourts) are not going to provide you with all of the information that you need to fully understand a case. These are merely tools; they are not substitutes for your casebook.

What do I do with my case brief after class?
Condense, condense, condense! Each case presents a rule of law, whether the same or the opposite. Condense the case brief down to the rule of law (and maybe a few facts) and the analysis the judge utilized. Then, insert that information into your outline. Many students actually insert their full case brief into their outline prior to class so that they have one single document.