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Checklist for Drafting a Trial Brief.
(Modeled after a brief writing checklist prepared by ProfessorChecklist for Drafting a Trial Brief.
(Modeled after a brief writing checklist prepared by Professor Janet Calvo, CUNY School of Law.
I. Introduction (or Preliminary Statement.
Does the Introduction articulate the party’s claim and introduce the theory of the case by referring to the case facts.
Are the parties identified.
Is the procedural history included.
II. Statement of Facts.
Does the Statement set forth the facts in a narrative that will be easy to follow for a reader who is unfamiliar with the case.
Does it include all legally significant facts.
Does it include relevant background facts.
Does it include facts that have an emotional resonance or sympathetic value for the party on whose behalf you write.
Are the facts stated accurately.
Does the Statement include the facts that you use in the Argument.
Has the Statement been edited to remove legal conclusions and editorializing.
Do favorable facts appear in positions of emphasis.
Does the Statement include significant unfavorable facts without overemphasizing them.
Does the Statement present and develop the theory of the case.
III. Question Presented (or, alternatively, Summary of Argument.
Does the Question combine the legal claim and controlling legal standard with the legally significant facts that raise the legal issue.
Is the Question framed so as to suggest an affirmative answer.
Does the Summary (if applicable) present a short statement of the legal and factual theory of the case.
Do the point headings and subheadings provide the reader with an outline of the argument.
Are the headings framed as legal assertions that are favorable to the party you represent, and are they supported with legally relevant facts.
Do the headings answer the question(s) presented.
Is the Argument organized into points and subpoints.
Do the points and subpoints follow the CRRACC paradigm (Conclusion/Rule Synthesis/Rule Proof/ Application of Rule to Facts/Counterargument/Conclusion Restated.
Does the Argument address the procedural context and the arguments based upon it.
Is the synthesized rule (legal standard) set forth clearly and completely.
Does the synthesized rule discuss the “common threads” (as that term is used in Laurel Oates et al. The Legal Writing Handbook (3d ed. Aspen), at pp. 78-82 ) or patterns among cases.
Is the synthesized rule framed favorably for the party you represent, supporting the conclusion that you want the court to reach.
Does the Rule Proof carry forward and develop each of the ideas stated in the Rule Synthesis in a section of one or more paragraphs that begins with a thesis (idea) sentence.
Do the cases discussed in the Rule Proof illustrate and support the idea expressed in each thesis sentence.
Does the Rule Proof address the holdings, legally significant facts, and reasoning of the cases discussed.
Are the facts of the cases included in the Rule Proof related to/illustrative of the legal point that you have asserted.
Are the parts of cases that counter your argument distinguished or explained.
Does the Argument raise and address relevant policy arguments.
D. Application of Rule to Fact.
Does the Application relate all the components of the rule/legal standard to the facts of the case that you are arguing.
Does the Argument demonstrate how underlying policy objectives in the law are met if the court accepts the application of law to fact.
Does the Application of rule to fact illustrate the theory of the case.
Does the Counterargument address and dispose of the arguments raised by the opponent, without overemphasizing them.
Does each paragraph within a point or subpoint advance the argument being made.
Are there clear transitions between paragraphs.
If the thesis or topic sentences of each paragraph within a point or subpoint were arranged in order, would a sound structure or outline of the point emerge.
Do the sentences within a paragraph relate to one another coherently, such that each successive sentence builds on the idea that is being addressed in preceding sentences.
Have you checked all sentences for correct grammar, spelling, and citation form.