Highlighting takes advantage of colors to provide a uniquely effective method for reviewing and referencing a case. This section will describe the parts of a brief in order to give you an idea about what a brief is, what is helpful to include in a brief, and what purpose it serves.
Like annotating, highlighting may seem unimportant if you create thorough, well-constructed briefs, but highlighting directly helps you to brief.
When a case sparks an idea — write that idea in the margin as well — you never know when a seemingly irrelevant idea might turn into something more. You might be wondering why annotating is important if you make an adequate, well-constructed brief.
Case briefs are a necessary study aid in law school that helps to encapsulate and analyze the mountainous mass of material that law students must digest.
The relevant issue or issues, and corresponding conclusions, are the ones for which the court made a final decision and which are binding. With a basic understanding of the case, and with annotations in the margin, the second read-through of the case should be much easier.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure that it works for you, regardless of what others recommend. The goal is to remind yourself of the basic reasoning that the court used to come to its decision and the key factors that made the decision favor one side or the other.
A brief is also like a puzzle piece. You may prefer to underline the relevant text with a pencil, but to use a highlighter to bracket off the different sections of a case.
What facts are relevant to include in a brief? Overly long or cumbersome briefs are not very helpful because you will not be able to skim them easily when you review your notes or when the professor drills you. Depending on the brand, purple and green can be dark, but still work well.
There is usually one main issue on which the court rests its decision. Whether you return to a case after a few hours or a few months, annotations will swiftly guide you to the pertinent parts of the case by providing a roadmap of the important sections. Be sure to distinguish the issues from the arguments made by the parties.
For each different section of the case, choose a color, and use that color only when highlighting the section of the case designated for that color. Our recommendation is a mechanical pencil. In the personal experience on one of the authors, the sections of cases that seemed to demand the most highlighter attention were the Facts and the Analysis, while the Issues and Holdings demanded the least.
As you hit these elements or what you think are these elements make a mark in the margins. At a minimum, however, make sure you include the four elements listed above. Experiment if you must, but try to choose a color scheme early on in the semester and stick with it.
Although you might think a pencil might smear more than a pen, with its sharp point a mechanical pencil uses very little excess lead and will not smear as much as you might imagine. To the extent that more elements will help with organization and use of the brief, include them. Even with a thorough, well-constructed brief you may want to reference the original case in order to reread dicta that might not have seemed important at the time, to review the complete procedural history or set of facts, or to scour the rationale for a better understanding of the case; annotating makes these tasks easier.
A well-constructed brief will save you lots of time by removing the need to return to the case to remember the important details and also by making it easier to put together the pieces of the common law puzzle.The IRAC method is a framework for organizing your answer to a business law essay Note that the issue may be case specific, mentioning the parties’ names and specific facts of the case.
write a separate IRAC analysis for each issue. IRAC: How to Write about Legal Cases Leonard Tourney, Gina Genova Before presenting our case, we should introduce IRAC, a method of presenting arguments on legal cases that has been successfully used by generations of law students.
IRAC is an acronym that stands for: Issue. I love IRAC; one of my most memorable moments of practicing law was when the partner with the best reputation in the firm for legal writing wrote on one page of my memo of law, “good use of case!”.
How to Brief a Case Using the “IRAC” Method Follow the “IRAC” method in briefing cases: Facts* Write a brief summary of the facts as the court found them to be.
Eliminate facts that are not relevant to the court’s analysis. For example, a. The IRAC Method is the foundation But, be warned, some professors will tell you exactly how you should order your paper, and you should follow their suggestions since they will be grading your writing.
essay. If you can't spot a single issue, you will earn no points. To find issues, look for anything in the facts of a case that could. Learn how to write a case brief for law school with a simple explanation from LexisNexis. This is a great resource to help rising first year law students or prelaw students prepare for classes.
If you have difficultly, refer back to this chapter to help guide you as you master the case method of study and the art of using the common law.Download