Case Briefing: The Four Step Process


    First of all, you'll notice that the Farwell case has numbered lines.  You will not find numbered lines in your casebook or in cases published and inserted into the various reporters (reporters are volumes that print case decisions).  I numbered the lines for our discussion here, in order to easily refer you to relevant portions of the text.
    Second, you probably saw that periodically throughout the case there were brackets with language within them.  Rarely will your casebook include the full text of the courts opinion.  Nearly all the cases you will read during law school are appellate cases.  Cases that are appealed are rarely appealed on a single ground.  There usually are multiple grounds for appeal.  The casebook authors as well as the law school are only attempting to direct you towards one or a very few issues.  Therefore the areas in brackets represent text that I cut out because of it's non-pertinence to the point(s) of law the case is directed to.  While I used brackets, casebooks oftentimes use several successive periods to represent cut text (e.g., …).
    Now that you've read the case, you might be asking yourself what to do with this information you've just read, and what in the world does it mean.  That leads us into step one.