Briefs At ACLL

California legal briefs – examples and templates

Looking for California appellate briefs?  Seeking guidance when drafting a brief?

Alameda County Law Library offers resources for researching appellate and trial briefs.

We are one of the few public law libraries in California that provides free access to a database – California Public Law Library Briefs Service – supplied by Thomson Reuters.  The database, whose holdings begin around 1992, is available on our public computers using your ACLL patron number.  With a party name or case number, you can retrieve the text of documents.  Not all California appellate court briefs are part of this database.  This service is a stripped down version of commercial resources.  No keyword or subject searching.  The original formatting of the document is removed but the text can be cut and pasted into a Word document, then saved to a flash drive.  No direct emailing from the database.  But it is free and may save the effort of going to the court to locate a copy of a brief for an identified appellate case.

For earlier appeals, ACLL has a collection of California briefs on microfiche.  This collection is organized by court district and appellate case number.  (For all you millennials, here is a definition of microfiche.)   ACLL has a viewer but no printing facilities.

ACLL also has access on Lexis to the California Briefs, Pleadings, & Motions file which the publisher describes as:

The file includes all available California Federal and State Briefs, submitted to lay out the argument for various petitions and motions before the court, to counter the arguments of opposing lawyers, and to provide the judge with reasons to rule in favor of the party represented by the brief writer.

This file can be searched by keywords, party names, and other document segments.  The ACLL Lexis subscription allows for emailing items, as well as, downloading and printing.

The mechanics of writing a brief

Instructions and templates for writing briefs can be found in a number of guides at our library or on the internet.  Included are:

CEB also has a number of resources:

Trial brief

A “trial brief” is a written summary or statement submitted by a party that explains to a judge the party’s position on particular issues that will be part of the trial [Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 5.393(a)(3)].  For specific jurisdictional requirements, consult the appropriate local court rules.

  • 18 California Forms of Pleading and Practice–Annotated § 221.63
  • CEB California Trial Practice: Civil Procedure During Trial
  • California Trial Handbook § 9:3
  • 36 California Forms of Pleading and Practice–Annotated § 417.12, “Points and Authorities Compared With Briefs”
  • Litigation by the Numbers., § 6.3.2 sample Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Arbitration brief

  • MB CA Torts §95.04 has a detailed description of the parts of an arbitration brief
  • CA Forms of Pleading & Practice §33.53 “arbitration book”


Can’t get into the library?  ACLL does provide document delivery services.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.