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Self-Help: Writing a Brief or Memorandum of Law

What is a Brief?

"What is a brief? Generally, it is a short summary of a position that you are taking... It includes the facts of your case, the relevant law, and how you want the court to apply the law to the facts. A brief is often called a 'Memorandum of Law.'"  

- Janet S. Kole, A Brief Guide to Brief Writing: Demystifying the Memorandum of Law (p. 1)

PA Court Rules about Writing a Brief

Court Rules are the practices and procedures for court.

The following court rules may help you get started on writing a brief or memorandum of law in PA. Other court rules might apply. 

Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (Pa.R.Civ.P.)

Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure (Pa.R.A.P.)

Philadelphia County Local Rules: Common Pleas-Trial Division-Civil 

Here are links to local rules from other area counties:


State and county court rules are also available in print and on legal databases when visiting Jenkins. Ask a librarian for help finding or using these resources. 

Books & Manuals at Jenkins

A Brief Guide to Brief Writing: Demystifying the Memorandum of Law 
This book provides a general introduction to brief writing.  Please consult Philadelphia Civil Rule 210 (see above) for specifics on writing a Memorandum of Law in the Philadelphia courts.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Civil Practice Manual

  • Chapter 7. Motion Practice, § 7-2.3(c) discusses Memorandums of Law in Philadelphia.
  • Form 5-1F presents one sample, titled "Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiff's Petition for Special Injunction." This sample form provides an example of the layout and structure of a memorandum of law. You will likely need to rewrite your own memorandum using a similar format and include the specific facts of your case. 

Legal Writing and Analysis in a Nutshell 
Provides steps to develop clear, precise, and effective legal writing and analysis.
Also available as an eBook via West Academic Digital Library when visiting Jenkins. 

The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation 
This manual explains the correct ways to cite statutes, regulations, case law, and other resources.

PA Style: A Pennsylvania Stylebook and Citation Guide for Legal Writing 
Information on how to cite to Pennsylvania statutes, cases, and more.

For more information, see Jenkins' Pennsylvania Appellate Law and Practice research guide.