What is a Trial Brief?
How do you legally define it?
What are the essential elements you should know!
In this article, we will break down the legal definition of a Trial Brief so you know all there is to know about it!
Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!
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Table of Contents
What Is A Trial Brief
A trial brief (case brief or trial statement) is a legal document presented to the court in accordance with the court’s rules of civil procedure intended to provide the court with the presentation of facts, evidence and legal arguments.
Trial briefs represent pleadings in written form where a party attempts to demonstrate and prove a certain legal fact or matter.
Some courts may exceptionally allow trial briefs and prefer that the parties present oral arguments.
When it’s presented before trial, it’s referred to as the pre-trial brief.
What is the definition of a trial brief?
According to FindLaw, a trial brief is defined as follows:
Document prepared for and used by attorney at trial which contains, among other things, issues to be tried, synopsis of evidence and witnesses to be presented, and case and statutory authority for the position of counsel at trial.
This is a great definition as it presents the essential elements of trial briefs.
A trial brief is:
- A document
- Prepared by an attorney
- Containing issues to be tried
- Summary of the evidence
- Legal basis
What should trial briefs contain?
How to write a trial brief?
A trial brief must be written in accordance to the court rules of procedure.
Typically, a trial brief will have the following sections:
- Preliminary statement (Introduction)
- Statement of facts
- Legal claim (question presented)
- Body headings (arguments)
- Content of rule
- Rule proof
- Application of the rule to the fact
Drafting a Trial Brief
When drafting a trial brief, you must ensure that your document clearly conveys the facts, the evidence and the law applicable to your argument.
Your objective is to convince the judge or the court of your legal argument and position.
Make sure that your trial brief introduction is clear and presents the legal theory of the case.
When you are summarizing the facts, make sure that the narrative is easy for the judge to follow and understand.
Stay on topic and avoid talking about irrelevant facts.
Your trial court brief should present the legal claim, standard or issue in clear and simple terms.
As you present the legal theory, make sure you properly explain the rule of evidence applicable to your case.
Clearly expose the facts and apply them to the rule of law.
Make sure the legal theories that underpin your claim are fully addressed.
What are the best practices when drafting a trial brief?
The first thing you must do is to ensure that you are clear about the legal issue, the facts, rules of evidence, the application of the facts to the law, and your conclusion.
That is the obvious part.
What you may also want to do is to address possible counterarguments the other party may present.
This way, you can immediately dispose of the arguments the other party may raise so you can mitigate their impact.
Another tip is to ensure that your paragraphs are clear and you make a proper transition from one topic to another.
Is your story coherent?
Are you presenting your idea in a clear manner?
Finally, once you’re done writing your trial court brief, make sure you read it once or twice before finalizing.
Correct any grammar and spelling mistakes.
Make sure your citation form is correct.
You are ready to file!
Let’s look at some trial briefs examples to better illustrate the concept.
Here is an example of a trial brief filed in the context of the Donald J. Trump impeachment titled “Trial Memorandum of the United States House of Representatives in the Impeachment Trial of President Donald j. Trump”
Another trial brief example is that of the U.S. v. Northwest Airlines Corp. and Continental Airlines, Inc filed dated October 24, 2000 and available on The United States Department of Justice’s website.
A third example of a sample trial brief is that of the U.S. v. Atlas Iron Processors Inc., et al. dated January 22, 1999 and available on The United States Department of Justice’s website.
So what is the legal definition of Trial Brief?
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
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