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Advanced Appellate Advocacy: Creating, Drafting, and Researching a Legal Argument: Home

This guide has been designed to assist students in the Advanced Appellate Advocacy Seminar as they research and write their appellate briefs.

Getting Started

Basic Research Plan/Process

1.  Analyze the facts of the case

2.  Examine the relevant parts of the record

3.  Preliminarily identify the issues you need to research

4.  Research the relevant primary law

5.  Research any relevant secondary sources

6.  Select the issues that you will raise or address in your brief

7.  Plan your writing/draft a focused outline

Analyzing the Case

1.  What are the facts of the case (“who, what, when, where, and why”)?

2.  What is the procedural posture of the case? 

3.  What is the judgment or order of the lower court?

4.  On what basis did the lower court make its decision (i.e. what are the findings of fact and law)?

5.  What is the burden of proof on appeal?

6.  What standard must the appellate court apply to uphold or reverse the lower court's decision?

7.  What state and federal statutes, codes, and constitutional provisions are applicable?

8.  What is the exact relief that you seek from the appellate court?