the nuts and bolts of case briefing l.
Download
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
The Nuts and Bolts of Case Briefing PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
The Nuts and Bolts of Case Briefing

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 90
KeelyKia

The Nuts and Bolts of Case Briefing - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

281 Views
Download Presentation
The Nuts and Bolts of Case Briefing
An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author. While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript

  1. The Nuts and Bolts of Case Briefing Ruth Ann McKinney Reading Like A Lawyer, © 2005 (PowerPoint developed by Tracy Nayer, UNC School of Law, Class of 2007)

  2. A brief is NOT a “graded” exercise. It is a way of taking notes as you form opinions about a case you are reading.

  3. In law school, different professors may want you to brief slightly differently than do others. A good rule of thumb: always brief the way your professor wants you to and use terms in each class the way that professor uses them.

  4. When professors talk about a case in class, they may or may not talk directly about the traditional parts of a brief. Rest assured, however, that the professor will be thinking in terms of these chunks of information.

  5. What are the parts (“chunks”) of information classically contained in a law student’s brief (and classically thought about by legally trained readers)?

  6. The parts of a brief The parts of a brief

  7. The parts of a brief The parts of a brief • Heading • Parties • Procedural History • Facts • Question Presented • Holding • Rule (Principle/Reasoning) • Your ideas

  8. The parts of a brief The parts of a brief • Heading • Where can I find this case again? • Parties • Who is involved with this conflict? • Procedural History • What happened legally to this case before it got to this court? continued . . .

  9. The parts of a brief The parts of a brief • Facts • What happened between the parties that created this conflict, and (sometimes) what happened in the courts below with this conflict? • Question Presented • What is the legal question relevant to this part of our casebook that has been raised on this appeal? continued . . .

  10. The parts of a brief The parts of a brief • Holding • How did this court answer that question? • Rule (Principle/Reasoning) • What was the court’s train of thought as it reached this result? Sometimes this section requires an analysis of policy issues that influenced the court. continued . . .

  11. The parts of a brief The parts of a brief • Your ideas • What did you think about as you read this case?

  12. Let’s look at each part of your brief in detail . . .

  13. Start with the Heading Start with the Heading

  14. Start with the Heading Start with the Heading You will find an opinion published in a “reporter” by its “citation.” The “citation” also tells a legally trained reader the place and year of decision – as well as the level of court that decided the case.

  15. Start with the Heading -- An Example Start with the Heading -- An Example Case Name (Parties to the suit) Reporter (U.S. Supreme Court) Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963). Volume First page of the case Year of decision

  16. Start with the Heading -- A Second Example Start with the Heading -- A Second Example Case Name (Parties to the suit) Leichtman v. WLW Jacor Communications, 92 Ohio App. 3d 232 (1994). Volume First page Reporter (Published opinion of the Ohio Court of Appeals) Year of decision

  17. Start with the Heading -- A Third Example Start with the Heading -- A Third Example Case Name (Parties to the suit) Year of decision Ray v. Young, 572 S.E.2d 216 (N.C. Ct. App.) (2002). Volume First page Reporter (Southeast Regional Reporter) Deciding Court

  18. Start with the Heading -- A Tip Start with the Heading -- A Tip It also helps to include the casebook page number at the top of your brief. Including the page number helps you find the case quickly in class.

  19. Name the Parties Name the Parties

  20. Name the Parties Name the Parties Who is involved in this conflict? If it’s a civil case, there will be a “Plaintiff” ()* and a “Defendant” ()*. *In some instances, the Plaintiff is called the “Petitioner” and the Defendant is called the “Respondent.”

  21. Name the Parties Name the Parties If it’s a criminal case, there will be the name of the jurisdiction bringing the charge and the name of the defendant.

  22. Name the Parties -- An Example of a Civil Case Name the Parties -- An Example of a Civil Case Gideon v. Wainwright Petitioner (∏) Respondent (∆)

  23. Name the Parties -- An Example of a Criminal Case Name the Parties -- An Example of a Criminal Case United States v. Nixon Government bringing the charge Criminal Defendant (∆)

  24. Name the Parties Name the Parties • In a civil case, the Plaintiff is usually (but not always!!) listed in the heading first. • Read the case to make sure you’re right about the parties’ names. • Also, where there’s more than one party, only the first party named in the suit is listed in the heading. • Read the case to find out if there were others involved in the suit or charge.

  25. Name the Parties Name the Parties It also helps to make a short-hand notation to yourself of what “category” each party can fall into (because lawyers think of cases as representative of similar situations).

  26. Name the Parties -- An Example Name the Parties -- An Example Gideon v. Wainwright: Gideon (∏) = a Florida prisoner Wainwright (∆) = Corrections Director for the State of Florida

  27. Identify the Procedural History Identify the Procedural History

  28. Identify the Procedural History Identify the Procedural History By the time an opinion is written on a case, a lot of water has gone over the dam. In order to understand the case, you have to be able to accurately visualize (imagine) what the lawyers and judges did with this case before it got to the present court.

  29. Identify the Procedural History Identify the Procedural History In the weeks ahead, you’ll learn that how a case gets to the present (deciding) court has a lot to do with how much power the present court can exercise in deciding the question in front of it. For now, learn to identify accurately what happened as this case got to this court.

  30. Identify the Procedural History -- An Example Identify the Procedural History -- An Example Gideon v. Wainwright: • Criminal trial in Florida state court for felony breaking and entering – guilty • Habeus corpus petition filed by Gideon with Florida Supreme Court – denied • Petition for certiorari granted by the U.S. Supreme Court (i.e., the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case)

  31. Identify the Procedural History Identify the Procedural History Many experienced law students add the decision of THIS court (the decision in the case you’re reading) as the final step in the Procedural History so they have a quick way to see the map of the whole case, from beginning to end.

  32. Identify the Procedural History -- An Example Identify the Procedural History -- An Example Gideon v. Wainwright: • Criminal trial in Florida state court for felony breaking and entering – guilty • Habeus corpus petition filed by Gideon with Florida Supreme Court – denied • Petition for certiorari granted by the U.S. Supreme Court (i.e., the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case) – reversed the Florida conviction

  33. Facts: Spotting the action Facts: Spotting the action

  34. Facts: Spotting the action Facts: Spotting the action Exceptional legal readers have great imaginations. As they read, they get a clear and accurate picture of what happened (often casting the characters and setting the scene in their minds as they would if reading a short story or a novel).

  35. Facts: Spotting the action Facts: Spotting the action To get a clear and accurate picture, keep an open mind and stay within the context (historical, geographical, social) of the case.

  36. Facts: Spotting the action Facts: Spotting the action Once you have a vivid image of what happened in a case, take notes in your brief to remind yourself of the important facts of the case.

  37. Pinpoint the Question Presented Pinpoint the Question Presented

  38. Pinpoint the Question Presented Pinpoint the Question Presented In this part of the brief, try to state, succinctly and accurately, the legally significant question raised in the case.

  39. Pinpoint the Question Presented-- A Reading Tip Pinpoint the Question Presented -- A Reading Tip As you search for the legally significant question, consider the sub-topic heading of your casebook. (In other words, why has your casebook author included this case in your assigned reading? What legal question is the case raising that you should think about in the context of this book and this class?)

  40. Pinpoint the Question Presented-- An Example Pinpoint the Question Presented -- An Example Gideon v. Wainwright: Is a criminal defendant who cannot afford an attorney entitled to have one appointed for him or her in a state court?

  41. Pinpoint the Question Presented-- Another Example Pinpoint the Question Presented -- Another Example Gideon v. Wainwright: Were the constitutional rights of Gideon, a Florida state prisoner, violated because he could not afford to hire an attorney?

  42. Pinpoint the Question Presented-- A Thinking Tip Pinpoint the Question Presented -- A Thinking Tip Note that the Question Presented can be viewed (and stated) broadly or narrowly. Example (broad): Are criminal defendants entitled to counsel? Example (narrow): Was Mr. Gideon constitutionally entitled to have counsel appointed for him in state court on a charge of breaking and entering with intent to commit a misdemeanor?

  43. Pinpoint the Question Presented-- A Reading Tip Pinpoint the Question Presented -- A Reading Tip When we read in law school, we develop a working hypothesis about the point of our reading in the context of the course as a whole. As you frame out your “question presented” you will begin to figure out a “working hypothesis” (your best guess) as to what this case will add to your understanding of the areas of law covered in this part of your casebook.

  44. Pinpoint the Question Presented-- A Briefing Tip Pinpoint the Question Presented -- A Briefing Tip As you brief the case, it won’t hurt to set out a couple of versions of the Question Presented (one broad, one narrow), and then see what happens in class.

  45. Highlight the Holding Highlight the Holding

  46. Highlight the Holding Highlight the Holding In every case, the court will reach a decision about the legal issue(s) raised.

  47. Highlight the Holding Highlight the Holding The exact decision that resolves the question for the parties named in the suit is often called a “holding.” This type of “holding” usually parallels a narrowly stated Question Presented.

  48. Highlight the Holding Highlight the Holding The rule(general principle)that the court adopts to reach the exact decision in a case is also sometimes called a “holding.” A more broadly stated “holding” (more of a “rule”) usually parallels a more broadly stated Question Presented.

  49. Highlight the Holding -- An Example Highlight the Holding -- An Example Narrow holding: Mr. Gideon was entitled to have counsel appointed for him since he could not afford one, and his conviction is reversed and remanded for a new trial with counsel.

  50. Highlight the Holding -- An Example Highlight the Holding -- An Example Broad holding: Conviction on a criminal charge, even in state court, without adequate legal representation is a violation of a criminal defendant’s federal constitutional rights to representation.