Business & Transactions

Solving Business Law Problems And Analyzing Case Problems With Case Briefing

A big part of the understanding business law is the ability to quickly parse court decisions. To solve your business law questions and case problems, one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal is called briefing. The briefing, as applied to law, is a process that involves reading a court case carefully and understanding the elements of the case, how they can apply to other cases, and how they were resolved. Since precedent, or the prior decisions made by courts, are so important in law, finding details in past cases that apply to current situations is invaluable for planning for a court appearance.

A case brief done correctly will separate a case out to its essential elements so that it can be more easily analyzed. While not all briefs follow the same format, the following list is a good guideline for topics to cover in a briefing:

Basic Facts
The first and most obvious thing is to cover the basics of the case. What is the case number? The date? In what court did the case appear? This is just to help the brief stay organized with other case briefings.

The facts of the case are the next topic to cover. This includes the identities of those involved in the case, as well as the reason for the lawsuit. Keep this section short; a briefing should be a quick reference point, not a biography diving into the specifics of the case.

This is the central question posed to the court, the piece of law that is at issue. Cases can sometimes contain multiple issues; make sure to list them all. This takes the form of a question, usually a yes or no question.

As simply as possible, state the conclusion that the court came to regarding the issue(s). If possible, a “yes” or “no” is all you need in this section. This makes the grief easier to read in the future. When the briefing is referenced in the future, it is very important to be able to determine the topic of the case quickly and in what direction it was ruled, so do not bury the lede here.

The reason is where all the extra details related to the decision go. Explain what lead the court to their decision, especially about specific cases or laws that the court leaned on for its decision. This is the section that will be read if it is clear that the case brief is relevant and helpful to the case at hand.

Creating a case briefing in this way provides an invaluable reference resource for solving business law problems and analyzing case problems. Lawyers refer to case briefings often when forming arguments or exploring options on directions to take when tackling a case. Finding the right precedent to apply to the case at hand can often solve a case by itself. Learning to create case briefings is a very valuable skill with many applications in the legal world.