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Lesson 7: How to Brief A Case and Prepare for Class

This is a photo of the Federal Reporter.  The Federal Reporter is an index of all federal cases.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Operationalize the federal reporter.
  2. Understand the construction of a legal citation.
  3. Demonstrate how to search for a case through a case citation.
  4. Understand and apply the various components of a student case brief.
  5. Define and operationalize the parties in a case.


  1. Review the link to the Georgetown Law School Bluebook Guide to Citing Cases.  Watch the case law tutorial to understand how citations are constructed. 
  2. Oyez and Justia are two excellent websites to search for cases. Almost all the cases that we study can be found by searching on those sites.
  3. This course requires that you are able to search for a case and write student case briefs in which the parties, issues, question and holdings are explained in a written student case brief.
  4. Review both handouts below:  The handout on the left is a guide to writing a case brief written by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice library staff.  The handout on the right is a sample student case brief to model your student briefs.