Skip to Main Content

Media Comm: Journalism

A guide for journalism classes taught by Dr. Nancy Garcia.

How to Brief a Case

An excellent overview from LexisNexis:

How to Write a Case Brief for Law School: Excerpt reproduced from Introduction to the Study of Law: Cases and Materials, Third Edition (LexisNexis 2009) by Michael Makdisi & John Makdisi.

What is a Citation?

To search for a case, the citation is:

  • Volume number
  • Name of book (the "case reporter"--often abbreviated)
  • Page number (first page of the case)

376 U.S. 254 is a U.S. Supreme Court case. It is printed in volume 376 of the United States Reports. Page 254 in the book is the first page of the case. The entire case is printed on pages 254 through 276.

For example:

  • 376 U.S. 254 is Volume 376 / United States Reports / first page is 254
  • 84 S. Ct. 710 is Volume 84 / Supreme Court Reporter / first page is 710
  • 11 L. Ed. 2d 686 is Volume 11 / United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyer's Edition, 2d / first page is 686

All the above citations are for the same case, but printed in different books by different publishers!

Legal Research