How Do You Write an Outline for a Legal Case Brief?


Quick Answer

To write an outline for a legal case brief, begin with the case name and year of the opinion, and then state the facts, issues, holding and rationale, according to LexisNexis. The facts include the parties' identities, events that caused the conflict, the legal procedures that brought the case to court, and the court's judgment. Holding refers to the law the court applies, and the rationale is the court's reason for the holding.

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Full Answer

Writing a case brief enables you to remember the meaningful details, explains LexisNexis. When outlining facts in the brief, limit them to those that help you remember the story and that are key to the decision. Although a case may have multiple issues, a court usually bases its decision on one main issue. Keep your focus on the main issue and conclusion, which controls future court decisions.

The court's judgment is its decision affirming, reversing or remanding the case, notes LexisNexis. Your notes should remind you why the court reached its decision in favor of one side or the other. When preparing your outline, you may find it helpful to include the dissent if it is significant, and the parties' opposing arguments on the main issue. Keep your briefs to one page per case, which makes organizing your notes easy.

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