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Legal Research and Writing

Anatomy of a Case

Anatomy of a Case

Learn about the structure and components of a legal opinion.


In the course of a law school career, a law student typically reads hundreds of cases. For the most part, these cases are abridged versions of appellate opinions. In this lesson, you will learn how to read the real thing: actual, unedited legal opinions. You will learn the difference between the official legal opinion, which contains the actual language of the decision, and editorial enhancements, which are not part of the actual decision, but help navigate within a case and identify...