Here's How Legal Briefs Can Help You Win Your Case
Are you self-representing in an immigration case? Learn how a legal brief can make the difference between winning and losing.
What is a legal brief?A legal brief is a summary of a case submitted to the court to argue for a specific decision. It contains three parts:
1) What is the evidence, and what additional facts can be inferred from this evidence?
2) Which laws relate to this matter?
3) How does the law apply to the facts of the case?
Who can write a legal brief?Writing a successful legal brief requires an in-depth knowledge of the case, extensive research on the law, and a sophisticated analysis that can apply the laws to the evidence to argue for the best possible outcome for the client. The quality of the brief depends on the lawyer’s expertise in the legal cannon, familiarity with the laws of the specific area (immigration in Arizona, for example), and their ability to interpret these laws in the most favorable way for their clients. Clearly, only a legal professional has the background and training to write a persuasive legal brief—one that will help you win your case.
Why are legal briefs so important?You might be surprised to learn that USCIS—the judges or adjudicators who rule on your case—are not equipped to resolve legal issues on their own. Typically, they don’t have the training and skills and are not familiar enough with federal law to make sense of a complex case. (If they did, they’d be lawyers!)
When a case doesn’t include a brief, it takes even longer for them to reach a decision—and the decision could be legally erroneous. Including a brief speeds up the process by doing their work for them. The legal brief sums up the case, presents all the relevant laws, and tells the judge which decision they should take. This makes it much easier for them to agree with the decision you want instead of having to do all the hard work of coming up with a different argument.
Bottom line: For USCIS, granting a briefed application is easy and safe. Denying it is difficult labor and risks having the decision overturned by a higher court if the case is appealed. Common sense shows that including a legal brief will always help your case.
If briefs are so useful, why I have never heard of them?Generally, lawyers are NOT required to file legal briefs, only when the client specifically hires them to draft those briefs or when a judge orders to brief certain issues. Now that you know the benefits of legal briefs, you can make sure to request one from your lawyer in your next immigration case. It could make all the difference!