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Legal Brief Example Student Essays

Case briefs are a crucial tool for law students. But have you ever wondered how to write a case brief? Crafting a good case brief requires the skills to pull out and analyze the most important details from a case, and once complete, they serve as a great study tool to look back on. It can be daunting to try to distill long cases into just a page or two, but with these tips and WriteWell's case brief template, you'll be well on your way to efficiently writing case briefs.

1. Read through the case first

It may be tempting to start constructing your brief as you read the case, but it is best to read it through completely before beginning the brief. This is helpful for understanding the big picture and being able to focus on the most relevant aspects to include in your summary.

2. Put things into your own words

A case brief is essentially a concise restatement of information that has already been written. As you read a case, ask yourself how you would phrase certain sections or arguments. This will help ensure your understanding of the case and help you construct your brief.

3. Brief for yourself

Your briefs will likely not be checked for the majority of your time in law school, save maybe the first few weeks. So why write them? For yourself! Briefs help you learn to recognize the important details and legal reasoning from decisions, and serve as a helpful study tool for your exams, as well as simply offering good writing practice. Write them in a way that makes sense to you and helps you contribute to discussions. If this means breaking up or adding sections, for yourself or your professor's expectations, you can do so easily in WriteWell's dynamic platform.

Ready to get briefing? Check out WriteWell's case brief template here.

There are countless ways to stylistically complete an academic essay.  Here are some examples of how students have successfully done so, while maintaining proper academic structure.

Introduction

A proper introduction should:

  • Introduce main arguments
  • Have an attention grabbing first sentence 
  • Provide concise information about broader significance of topic
  • Lead in to the body of the essay
 

Here are three examples of introduction paragraphs.  They have been re-written several times to illustrate the difference between excellent, good and poor answers. For a close reading of the examples, click the images below.

 

Example 1Example 2Example 3

 

The Body

The body of your essay should:

  • Address one idea per paragraph
  • Support arguments with scholarly references or evidence
  • Contextualise any case studies or examples 

Style

  • Use correct punctuation and proofread your work
  • Keep writing impersonal (do not use 'I', 'we', 'me')
  • Be concise and simple 
  • Be confident ("The evidence suggests..." rather than "this could be because...")
  • Connect paragraphs so they flow and are logical
  • Introduce primary and secondary sources appropriately
  • Avoid using too many quotations or using quotes that are too long
  • Do not use contractions (you’re, they’d)
  • Do not use emotive language ("the horrific and extremely sad scene is evidence of...")

This example illustrates how to keep an essay succinct and focused, by taking the time to define the topic:

Defining a topic

The following paragraphs demonstrate how to engage with a variety of scholarly material including primary sources, scholarly theories and formal statistics:

Introducing sources

Lastly, this paragraph illustrates how to engage with opposing arguments and refute them:

Conclusion

A proper conclusion should:
  • Sum up arguments
  • Provide relevance to overall topic and unit themes
  • Not introduce new ideas 
Here are two examples of conclusion paragraphs which have been re-written several times to illustrate the difference between excellent, good and poor answers.

Example 1                                                           Example 2

 

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