Published
March 26, 2024

Case Briefing for Visual Learners

In law school the “highlighted books” typically belonged to those who “book brief”, and each color helps the reader find facts, rule/takeaway, issue, etc., at a glance, and if you knew the color key you were golden.

When I first started case briefing, I struggled until I found a method that worked for me- I began using different color highlighters for different things that I look for in cases.

This was particularly helpful for when the professor called on me to ask the facts of the case, then I knew to look for yellow highlighted area. If asked what rule(s) of law was applied, then I look for orange. If they ask for the holding of the case, then I looked for pink. If they ask me what the issue(s) of the case was, then I look for blue… and so on.

For those who prefer going paperless, WestLaw and Lexis now allow you to do digitally markups. Either way, create a color code that works best for you and case briefing will never be the same.

Below is a color key shared with us by our friendly Brief Writing Ninja Chris Schandevel:

Yellow = key facts, events, background, lower-court decision and reasoning

Orange = key legal reasoning of this Court

Pink = holdings

Green = “money” lines that are the most useful to my argument and the most likely to go in my brief

Gray = bad-for-me lines that most undermine the arguments I want to make.

Chris Schandevel, thank you for always being so generous in sharing your knowledge here on LinkedIn. Image shared by Chris Schandevel also.

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