How To Write A Legal Brief

Mon. 04 Dec. 20232603
This guide will show you how to write a legal brief in a professional manner and provide a few Non-Disclosure Agreement PDF Template.
How To Write A Legal Brief

Writing a legal brief is a critical skill for any attorney. It involves presenting your client's case to the court in a clear, concise, and persuasive manner.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to crafting an effective legal brief, with insights on how PDF Reader Pro can fast-track the process.

What is a Legal Brief?

Begin your legal brief with a compelling introduction.

Here, you should clearly articulate your client's claim, introduce the party's theory of the case, and provide a concise procedural history. PDF Reader Pro’s editing tools can help you refine your language for maximum impact.

How to Make a Legal Brief

The TOA is crucial in demonstrating the legal foundation of your arguments.

Compiling this used to be tedious, but with PDF Reader Pro’s advanced features, you can easily organize and reference legal authorities, ensuring your TOA is comprehensive and accurate.

Step 1: Understand the Case

  • Research: Familiarize yourself with all aspects of the case, including legal precedents, statutes, and case law.
  • Client Discussion: Have detailed discussions with your client to understand their perspective and objectives.

Step 2: Draft the Introduction

  • Articulate the Claim: Clearly state the party’s claim at the outset.
  • Theory of the Case: Present the theory of your case, outlining your legal stance and rationale.
  • Procedural History: Briefly describe the case's journey through the legal system up to this point.

Step 3: Compile the Table of Authorities (TOA)

  • List Legal Sources: Include all statutes, cases, and regulations you will reference.
  • Organize Logically: Arrange the authorities in a logical order, such as by relevance or chronology.
  • Ensure Accuracy: Verify that all cited authorities are current and correctly referenced


Step 4: Write the Statement of Facts

  • Be Objective: Present facts impartially, without argumentative language.
  • Chronological Order: Arrange facts in a chronological sequence for clarity.
  • Highlight Key Facts: Emphasize the facts most crucial to your argument.

Step 5: Develop the Argument Section

  • Structure Logically: Divide the section into clearly defined points or issues.
  • Use Point Headings: Employ clear headings to denote each legal issue or argument.
  • Legal Analysis: For each point, present your legal analysis supported by authorities from your TOA.
  • Persuasive Argumentation: Argue how the facts and law support your client’s position.

Step 6: Conclude Effectively

  • Summarize Arguments: Briefly restate the main points of your arguments.
  • Request Specific Relief: Specify the legal relief or outcome you seek.

Step 7: Proofread and Edit

  • Review for Clarity: Ensure that the brief is clear, concise, and free of legal jargon.
  • Check for Errors: Look for grammatical, spelling, and citation errors.
  • Seek Feedback: Consider having a colleague review the brief for a fresh perspective.

Step 8: Finalize the Brief

  • Formatting: Ensure the brief complies with court guidelines regarding formatting, such as font size, margins, and spacing.
  • Filing: Follow the specific procedures for filing the brief with the court, including adherence to deadlines and format requirements.



With these simple steps, you can definitely write your own legal brief!

Use a Legal Brief PDF Template

You can easily use PDF Reader Pro to edit or annotate a legal brief by importing an existing legal brief template in PDF format. The software provides various tools for editing text, adding annotations, highlighting, and adding signatures, making it convenient for legal professionals to work with legal documents.

PDF Reader Pro has many templates to choose from for all kinds of needs!

Standardized Language in Legal Briefs

  • Efficiency: Reuse phrases and sections for similar legal issues.
  • Caution: Verify the current validity of reused legal citations.
  • Tools: Use legal citation checkers to ensure accuracy.

Proofreading and Editing: Key Steps

  • Print for Review: Print your brief to spot errors more easily.
  • Colleague Feedback: Get a second opinion to catch oversights.
  • Editing Tools: Utilize tools for typo checks and format compliance.
  • Court Standards: Ensure alignment with court formatting requirements.


How to Write a Legal Brief: Best Practices

1. Learn from Law Schools

  • Foundational Knowledge: Law schools are the bedrock for understanding legal writing. They provide essential training in crafting persuasive arguments and using precise language.
  • Writing Skills Development: Focus on courses and resources from law schools that enhance your legal writing skills.

2. Utilize Legal Databases

  • Research Tools: Access comprehensive legal databases for research. These are invaluable for finding relevant statutes, case law, and legal authority.
  • Appellate and Trial Briefs: Use these databases to study examples of appellate and trial briefs, noting their structure and content.

3. Master Legal Writing

  • Clarity and Precision: Legal writing demands concise and precise language. Every word should add value and clarity to your argument.
  • Essential Elements: Understand and incorporate the essential elements of legal writing, like a well-organized Table of Contents and a comprehensive Table of Authorities.

4. Hone Writing Skills

  • Continuous Improvement: Regularly refine your writing skills. The legal field constantly evolves, and staying updated with your writing approach is crucial.
  • Feedback and Practice: Seek feedback from peers and mentors in your law firm and engage in continuous practice.

5. Understand Appellate Courts

  • Specific Requirements: Familiarize yourself with the unique requirements of appellate courts. Appellate briefs often have different focuses and structures compared to trial briefs.
  • Tailored Arguments: Shape your arguments to suit the appellate level, focusing on legal reasoning and statutory interpretation.

6. Employ Concise and Precise Language

  • Brevity and Accuracy: Use concise language to make your point without unnecessary verbiage. Ensure precision to avoid ambiguity in your legal arguments.

7. Focus on Trial and Appellate Briefs

  • Distinct Approaches: Recognize the differences in drafting trial briefs versus appellate briefs. Each serves a different purpose and is addressed to a different audience.

8. Perfect the Table of Authorities

  • Accuracy and Relevance: Ensure that your Table of Authorities is accurately cited and relevant to the arguments you present.
  • Easy Navigation: Make it user-friendly for quick reference by judges and opposing counsel.

9. Cite Legal Authority Effectively

  • Support Your Arguments: Use legal authority to substantiate your claims. Cite relevant cases, statutes, and regulations that align with your argument.

10. Incorporate Essential Elements

  • Comprehensive Structure: Include all essential elements like a clear introduction, a detailed statement of facts, a persuasive argument section, and a concise conclusion.

11. Include a Table of Contents

  • Organization: A well-organized Table of Contents is crucial for easy navigation, especially in lengthy briefs.

12. Reference Relevant Statutes

  • Legal Foundation: Base your arguments on statutes that are directly relevant to your case. Ensure they are up-to-date and accurately interpreted.

13. Leverage Law Firm Resources

  • Collaboration and Learning: Utilize the resources and expertise available in your law firm. Collaborate with experienced attorneys to learn best practices in legal brief writing.


How to Write a Legal Brief: FAQ

What Are the Procedural Requirements for a Legal Brief?

Understanding the procedural requirements is crucial for any legal brief. These requirements vary depending on the court and jurisdiction but typically include specifications for formatting, deadlines for submission, and guidelines for the length and structure of the document. Always consult the specific court rules to ensure compliance.

How Can I Avoid Awkward Phrasing in Legal Writing?

To avoid awkward phrasing, focus on clarity and simplicity in your writing. Use straightforward language and short sentences. It's also beneficial to read your work aloud or have someone else review it, as this can help identify and rectify any awkward or unclear wording.

How Should I Address the Issues at Stake in the Brief?

When addressing the issues at stake, clearly and succinctly state the legal questions or disputes your brief is addressing. Make sure to connect these issues directly to the relevant laws and precedents, demonstrating how they apply to your client’s case.

How Does Legal Writing Differ from Other Types of Writing in the Legal Field?

Legal writing is unique in its need for precision, clarity, and adherence to legal standards. Unlike more informal types of writing in the legal industry, legal briefs require a formal tone, strict adherence to legal citation formats, and a structured argument that logically flows from the facts of the case.

What Is the Importance of Correct Formatting in a Legal Brief?

Correct formatting in a legal brief is not just about aesthetics; it's about readability and professionalism. Proper formatting makes it easier for the judge and opposing counsel to follow your arguments and find referenced authorities. It also demonstrates your attention to detail and respect for court procedures.

Why Are Legal Writing Skills Considered an Essential Skill in the Legal Industry?

Legal writing skills are fundamental in the legal industry because they directly impact an attorney's ability to argue a case effectively. Good legal writing conveys complex information in a clear, persuasive, and professional manner, which is essential for success in court and other legal proceedings.

How Do Persuasive Writing Skills and Analytical Skills Contribute to Effective Briefing Skills?

Persuasive writing skills enable lawyers to convincingly argue their client’s case and sway the opinion of the court. Analytical skills are equally important, as they allow lawyers to dissect complex legal issues and present them in a coherent, logical manner. Together, these skills form the cornerstone of effective briefing skills.

What Are the Key Distinctions in Writing for an Appellate Court Compared to Other Courts?

Writing for an appellate court requires a focus on legal analysis rather than factual disputes. Appellate briefs should concentrate on how the lower court interpreted the law and why that interpretation may be incorrect. This differs from trial court briefs, which often focus more on factual evidence and witness testimony.

How Can I Reference a Supreme Court or Appellate Court Opinion Correctly in My Brief?

When referencing a Supreme Court or Appellate Court opinion, ensure you use the correct legal citation format. This includes the case name, volume number, reporter, page number, and the year of the decision. Accurate citations are critical for credibility and for the court to verify the authorities you are relying on.

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