• LRW Motion Memo / Appellate Briefs

    Expectations and Information

    The best source of information about the appellate brief assignment is always your Legal Writing instructor and the detailed instructions for the assignment that you received in class. Your instructor may have special requirements or expectations in addition to any identified below. However, these are some general guidelines for an appellate brief:


    The appellate brief has some specific formatting rules. It should include the following sections: a cover page, a Table of Contents, an Index of Authorities, a Statement of the Case, Statement of Issues, Statement of Facts, Argument, and Conclusion. The Argument section will be the largest part of your brief and should be divided into sections with headings and sub-headings which are persuasive in tone and identify specific issues to your judges.


    As noted above, the tone of your brief should be persuasive. The language you use should make your client's position sound much more reasonable than your opponent's, even in the point headings and Statement of Facts. However, you should avoid over-stating your case, mis-stating facts, or being disrespectful of the court.

    Use of Facts

    The Statement of Facts should include all relevant facts - even those that are unfavorable to your client. Any fact that you will use in your arguments should be mentioned in the Statement of Facts. The facts should be presented so as to highlight facts that reflect well on your client's position and minimize the impact of less favorable facts.

    Legal Arguments

    If there are multiple issues or sub-points within an issue, your Arguments section should include an introduction that identifies the issues and establishes a "road map" for the order in which you will address them. Each individual argument should be identified by a persuasive point heading. The body of each argument should use an IRAC or CRAC organizational scheme that includes: a persuasive statement of the issue, the existing rule, relevant facts from the client's case, any arguments that rebut the opponent's likely position, and any relevant policy arguments, and a conclusion describing how the court should decide.


    It is important to cite completely and correctly in your brief. This includes a citation to the record for information included in your Statement of Facts, and case and/or statutory citations for any statement of the existing rules.


    Your instructor may provide you with previous students' work as an example of how your appellate brief should be structured. The Reserves desk in the library also has samples of past legal writing assignments that you may examine.


    Please contact Mary Trevor (mtrevor@gw.hamline.edu) for more information about this project.