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How to prepare to
write a legal brief

Nick Borger
National Client Representative

In order to brief, you’ll need to have a good understanding of the facts. Westlaw and Westlaw Edge have tools like PeopleMap and Company Investigator to help you find all the relevant facts surrounding your case. Even if your firm has already collected all the relevant information, you may be called upon to wade through a massive amount of information and distill it down to key points. Fortunately, Thomson Reuters has a tool to help you organize this information: Case Notebook is centrally accessible and searchable litigation case management software that helps you organize, analyze, and share essential case information.

Know your legal issues

After you’ve got your facts down, you’ll want to think through and organize the legal issues in your case. It may be helpful to compile a full list of the questions you want to answer to help you focus and economize your research time. Of course, if you’re working on an area of law that’s new to you, you might need to do some research just to familiarize yourself with the relevant legal questions. Practical Law on Westlaw and Westlaw Edge is the perfect resource for that. Practical Law’s Practice Notes are straightforward how-to guides and clear explanations of current law and practice, ranging from basic overviews to detailed analysis for specialists. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can become fluent in a new legal issue when you have Practical Law as a resource in your arsenal.

Perform your legal research

Once you’ve identified the key legal issues in your case, you’re ready to start reviewing and analyzing the state of the law. Westlaw and Westlaw Edge give you access to thousands of resources, both primary and secondary, and provides you with the tools you need to navigate your legal research efficiently:

  • The West Key Number System is the most widely used classification system for American law and has been evolving for over 100 years. Thomson Reuters attorney-editors have indexed and classified more legal topics and specific points of law than any other legal research provider, enabling you to quickly find other cases that address your exact legal issue in any jurisdiction. Think of it as the compass that allows you to navigate through your research.
  • Folders on Westlaw and Westlaw Edge help you track where you’ve been by organizing and managing your legal research, allowing you to store your documents and snippets of text in online folders. They also use artificial intelligence to analyze the research path you are on and recommend additional resources, effectively helping you chart the path to where you’re going ... just like a road map.
  • WestSearch and WestSearch Plus help you get to your final destination. Use the most advanced legal search engine to cut through the noise and get to the relevant legal issue with lightning speed.

With these tools at your disposal, you’ll be ready to start writing your brief in no time!

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