Writing an appellate brief legal argument

Everyone has a different approach. For example, a table of contents for an initial brief might look something like this in an appeal of a final judgment entered after a jury trial: Click here to download the contents of this form.

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Caffeine of some sort may help. Since the summary of the argument is just a short preview of the arguments, it generally does not need to have citations to the appellate record or legal authorities. If this is an appeal, you have cases from the lower court ruling and the trial briefs. In this article, I discuss the three foundations for every argument on appeal. Perhaps it is time to settle? This is a tough question, as you could research for a really long time and blow past the deadlines. I will break in with some description of how I take notes as I will do this during all aspects of the reading phase. I would print out a clean version on actual paper, take out a pen black or blue and a highlighter yellow and read each brief carefully. Organizing your Legal Authority As I am researching, I am also reading and sometimes finding new cases , and at the same time, I am adding to my notes in both Word and on the legal pad. For electronic research, I usually begin by looking for cases that have cited cases that I have already identified as some of the primary cases. What did the brief do well? That much is obvious. Otherwise, you risk the possibility that a justice will accidentally miss seeing it. How did it structure its argument?

If I were the attorney assigned to write the initial draft Appellee brief for the appeal, here is what I would do: The Reading Phase The first step is that I would read the motion-to-dismiss briefing at the trial court level.

Appellate courts review pure legal issues, such as the interpretation of a statute, with the least amount of deference. Pro se parties are generally permitted to serve documents by e-mail if they comply with certain requirements, which are set forth in detail in Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.

Part of that is because I like to read legal texts with a pen and highlighter and part of it is because I am—as my six-year-old son says—old school.

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Statutes are listed in numerical order. This is a form of a market-share discount. Wynn, alleging she was negligent in causing the accident and that he was injured as a result.

For each section, I pull out the printed-out cases with my many notes and highlights that relate to each section. If it is not in a separate section, it should be included in the argument section, at the beginning of each issue.

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Perhaps it is time to settle? I write the introduction last because I will know the most about my core theory and the issues after I am done writing. Communication here is vital. They critique a previous court's ruling and ask the appellate court to rectify the perceived legal misstep. At the appellate level, it is likely that the case will require the judges to make new law, even if it is just a slight extension from existing law. In fact, you should be thinking about it from the moment you start your project. In short, style matters. But when it is done right, it is beautiful. On appeal in federal court, the losing party that appeals is the Appellant, and the responding party that won at the trial level is the Appellee. These can also apply to trial-level arguments, but at the appellate level you can usually build a more complete argument , so I will use the appellate brief as the model. So even if the market-share discounts do make it more difficult for this weak competitor to sell its product—i. Statement of the Case and the Facts Before writing the brief, the party will have reviewed the record on appeal that was prepared by the clerk of the trial court or other lower tribunal that entered the order or judgment being appealed. The Policy So you have the cases, the statutes, and a story. Second, what is the applicable standard of review? Certificate of Font Compliance Table of Contents The table of contents lists the sections and issue headings in the brief, with the corresponding page numbers of where in the brief those sections and headings are.

The statement of the case and facts explains to the appellate court, based only on the documents and evidence that are in the record, what the history and facts of the case are, and what occurred in the lower tribunal. If this is an appeal, you have cases from the lower court ruling and the trial briefs.

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How do I write an appellate brief?