How Do Law Students Use Case Law Briefs in Their Studies?

Law students use case law briefs to help them become accustomed to the style of reading that is important in law school and to pick out and retain important details, says Case law is generally different from other types of academic reading and may take some getting accustomed to.

Other benefits of utilizing case briefs include being able to pick out the principles of law that case opinions are based on, helping prepare for class discussions more effectively, and summarizing course outlines and material more efficiently, states Case opinions normally contain "black letter law," which are concepts that may eventually be needed for the bar exam. Certain cases may have 20 or more pages of material, and using case briefs to summarize relevant details can help condense the information in only a few pages. Case law briefs can also be used to help students examine course material as a whole, as they make it much easier to place concepts and principles in context with other cases.

A case brief is essentially a summary of the case, and there are many different methods of preparing a case brief, says Westlaw. However, each brief should include at least the caption, facts, procedural history, issues, holding, rationale, disposition and relevant opinions.