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How to Brief a Legal Case for a Law School Class By Anthony Blackstone, B.A., J.D., M.Ed., Phd.

Perpetual (C)Copyright (2012 C.E.) By Anthony J. Fejfar and Neothomism, P.C. (PA) In a law appellate case, a legal issue or issues are being argued and decided by attorneys and an appellate court. In the courts written opinion which decides the case in question, the opinion discusses the procedural posture of the case, who the parties to the case are, the facts of the case, the legal issues discussed and analyzed, and the courts judgment or holding. In a law school class, where the case method of instruction is used, the teaching approached used is known as modified socratic, also known as lecture, mixed with question and answer discussion. A case book is used which is filled with appellate cases which have been decided

by real courts, in real life, and where the cases involve legal cases taken from the subject matter area which constitutes the class, such as, property law or contracts law, for example. When the law student prepares for class, the student must brief the case for the cases which the professor has assigned for class. Briefing the case parallels the structure of a legal opinion, noted above.

A case brief for a law school class, then, analyzes a legal case, and then an outline of the case is written down by the law student to that he or she has that ready to use if the law professor chooses that student to recite his or her brief in class, and then engage in question answer dialog, back and forth with the professor.

The case brief should contain the following elements: 1. Procedural posture of the case 2. Facts of the case 3. Legal Issues presented in the case 4. Any analysis of the legal issues presented in the case 5. The judgment or holding of the case Now, it should be noted that the basic idea that the structure of a legal opinion involves: Facts, Issues, Holding, parallels both the scientific method, and the philosophy of knowledge or cognitive psychology that has been used by the ancient greeks, the medievals, and contemporary philosopher, Bernard Lonergan. Case Structure 1. 2. 3. Facts Issues Judgment Note the similarities below: Lonergan Data Understanding Judgment Aristotle Facts Knowledge Wisdom

Scientific Method Facts or Data Theory Conclusion

Now, the basic idea of law, is that a Law is defined as a rule which is based upon reason or logic. If we start with concrete logic, that is, the idea that a person cannot have an Apple and

no(t) Apple in his hand, at the same time and in the same place. Also, a person cannot have a carved, wood block, Letter A, in his hand, at the same time and in the same place. Additionally, a person cannot have a Letter A, on a writing pad or a chalk board, at the same time and in the same place. This establishes the universal law of non-contradiction, that is, it is impossible

something to exist and not exist, at the same time and in the same place. Thus, logic is defined as that which is not illogical. And, that which is illogical is defined as that which involves a logical contradiction, such as, attempting to assert the existence of a concept or an idea in a

paper, brief, memorandum, article, etc., and then non-existence of the very same concept or idea, in the same paper, brief, memorandum, or article. Thus, it is illogical to assert that the Earth

exists and does not exist at the same time. When one attempts to assert a logical contradiction, this is know as asserting a logical fallacy or a fraudulent argument or assertion, or, sophistric argument, that is, sophistry. Now, the Law of Logic asserts that it is illegal to engage in acts of sophistry, and thus, each person has the individual right not to have sophistry used against him or her. Thus, the First Liberty is that of Academic Freedom, so that each person can engage in academic activity and argument to insure that he or she is not being subject to sophistry by another. The sophistry which is most condemned as illegal involves the Fallacy of Shifting Ground, The Fallacy of Hypocrisy, and the Fallacy of Lying. All of the Common Law and any other valid laws are Thus, in a law school class, the discussion part of the

ultimately grounded in the Law of Logic.

class involves a discussion of the logical consistency or the facts, the logical consistency of the legal rules, in light of a Public Policy discussion which involves Positive Values, such as: good food, good clothes, good home, good transportation, good education, good hobbies or self actualisation projects, good vacation, good recreation, good medical, good dental, good entertainment, good philosophy, good music, good rest and leisure time, good reading time, etc. The Law School classroom discussion also involves the use of legal reasoning and argumentation where argument are used using analytic logic and analogical logic. Legal reasoning with analogical logic involves arguments, such as: Your Honor, the facts and issues

in the present Case B are analogous the facts and issues in the previously decided Case A, and therefore the reasoning of Case A should be followed here in deciding this case B. Given the foregoing, we can see that Law is its own discipline and is not just politics. Thus,

law school class, as described above, is objectively valid, universally valid, and reasonably and logically valid.