Leadership Focus
The Brief




A brief (Latin "brevis", short) is a written legal document that is presented to a court arguing why the party to the case should prevail.

The brief establishes the basis for the argument of each party, explaining why the court should decide in their favor based on legal precedent and factual evidence.

The structure of Briefs follow a similar structure: presentation of issue, presentation of facts, presentation of legal and policy arguments and presentation of possible outcome. The brief always begins with a summary of the party's argument, usually in only one sentence; then presents the relevant facts and legal standards that the court should use in evaluating its decision; this may include policy arguments, statistics, and an exploration of the consequences of the possible decision.  The Brief concludes with synopsis of the legal and policy arguments explaining why the party should win the case.

The use of briefs has found its way into business and politics as well.  When leaders are considering important decisions, they often have the case 'briefed' for them with advisors listing the arguments for and against particular decisions and analyzing possible outcomes; the most famous example being President John Kennedy's briefing by his Executive Committee on possible actions against Cuba during the missile crisis of 1962.

The Brief you will be using in this course follows a defined format:

The number of paragraphs in your Brief will be FIVE--no more and no less.

The first sentence of the first paragraph will be the thesis statement.  The next sentence or sentences will highlight the three main supporting subtopics.   The minimum number of sentences in an opening paragraph is TWO.

The second through fourth paragraphs are all similar in format. They begin with a topic sentence which is a restatement of one of the three supporting ideas presented in the first paragraph. This is followed by supporting sentences which contain the factual information which backs up the Topic sentence.  The minimum number of sentences in a support paragraph is TWO.

Although it is not necessary, each of the support paragraphs is usually joined together by a transition word, phrase or sentence. Transitions help the reader to follow the flow of the logic and sequencing.

The final paragraph restates the main thesis idea and reminds the reader of the three main supporting ideas that were developed.  It is important to restate the thesis and three supporting ideas in an original and powerful manner as this is the last chance the writer has to convince the reader of the validity of the information presented. Because the purposes of the first and fifth paragraph are so similar that some writers construct them at the same time. They will edit them, as necessary, as they do with each and every part of the essay. The minimum number of sentences in a support paragraph is TWO.


YOU WILL NOT BE GRADED ON THE NUMBER OF PARAGRAPHS IN YOUR BRIEF

YOU WILL NOT BE GRADED ON THE NUMBER OF SENTENCES IN EACH PARAGRAPH

YOU WILL NOT BE GRADED ON THE NUMBER OF WORDS IN EACH SENTENCE

YOU WILL NOT BE GRADED ON THE NUMBER OF SYLLABLES IN EACH WORD

YOU WILL NOT BE GRADED ON THE NUMBER OF LETTERS IN EACH SYLLABLE.

YOU WILL BE GRADED ON THE CLARITY, RELEVANCE, AND PERSUASIVENESS OF YOUR BRIEF

 

Introductory Paragraph

THESIS SENTENCE

  1. Subtopic One
  2. Subtopic Two
  3. Subtopic Three

Transition


First Supporting Paragraph

Restate Subtopic One

  1. First Supporting Detail or Example
  2. Second Supporting Detail or Example
  3. Third Supporting Detail or Example

Transition


Second Supporting Paragraph

Restate Subtopic Two

  1. First Supporting Detail or Example
  2. Second Supporting Detail or Example
  3. Third Supporting Detail or Example

Transition


Third Supporting Paragraph

Restate Subtopic Three

  1. First Supporting Detail or Example
  2. Second Supporting Detail or Example
  3. Third Supporting Detail or Example

Transition


Closing or Summary Paragraph

Synthesis of main topic

  1. Synthesis of Subtopic One
  2. Synthesis of Subtopic Two
  3. Synthesis of Subtopic Three

ALL HONORS ECONOMICS AND GOVERNMENT BRIEFS WILL BE GRADED ON THE 30-POINT BRIEF RUBRIC.