Resources for the Writing Seminar in Environmental & Land Use Litigation

 ***THIS is an ARCHIVED guide. It may contain BROKEN links. Its value is HISTORICAL only.***

Current Research Guides 

(Prepared for Professor Daniel Mandelker's Fall 2003 Seminar)

© 2003 Dora Bertram, Director of Public Services and Lecturer in Law, Washington University Law Library

Technical Note: The links on this page require your LexisNexis or Westlaw password.

The Statute

Federal Telecommunications Act 

Legislative History 

Your Westlaw password is required to access these documents.

1982 Act (P.L. 97-259, Title I, §120(a))

1992 Act (P.L. 102-385, §25(b))

1993 Act (P.L. 103-66, Title VI, §6002(b)(2)(A))

1996 Act (P.L. 104-404, §3(d)(2), Title VII, §§704(a), 705)

The links above access committee reports as reprinted in United States Code Congressional and Administrative News (USCCAN).  USCCAN often does not print all reports associated with a P.L., and some of the reports are not printed in their entirety.  Committee reports are often the most useful of the four legislative history components (i.e., bills, hearings, reports, debates).  If you need citations to additional legislative history materials, see the following legislative histories from the LexisNexis Congressional database (LexisNexis password required).

LexisNexis™ 97 CIS Legis. Hist. P.L. 259
LexisNexis™ 102 CIS Legis. Hist. P.L. 385
LexisNexis™ 103 CIS Legis. Hist. P.L. 66  
LexisNexis™ 104 CIS Legis. Hist. P.L. 104 


Remember that running your primary sources through a citator is an important step in your research process.  Citators will:

  • verify that your case or statute is still good law
  • expand your research
    • find other relevant primary sources
    • find secondary sources

LexisNexis Shepards
Westlaw Keycite

Brief Writing

Selected Books 


Author  Bahrych, Lynn.
Title  Legal writing in a nutshell / by Lynn Bahrych, Marjorie Dick Rombauer. 
Published  St. Paul, Minn. : Thomson/West, 2003.
Edition  3rd ed.
  [Law Library Reserve KF250 .S68 2003] 
See Ch. 9, "Argumentative Memoranda and Persuasive Writing" 

Author  Re, Edward Domenic
Title  Brief writing & oral argument / by Edward D. Re and Joseph R. Re. 
Published  Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. : Oceana Publications, 1999.
Edition  8th ed.
  [Law Library Reserve KF251 .R4 1999]

Author  Aldisert, Ruggero J.
Title  Winning on appeal : better briefs and oral argument / by Ruggero J. Aldisert. 
Published  Notre Dame, Ind. : National Institute for Trial Advocacy, c1996.
Edition  Rev. 1st ed.
  [Law Library Reserve KF9050 .A935 1996]

Author  Oates, Laurel Currie
Title  The legal writing handbook : analysis, research, and writing / Laurel Currie Oates, Anne Enquist, Kelly Kunsch. 
Published  New York : Aspen Law & Business, c2002.
Edition  3rd ed.
[Law Library Reserve KF250 .O18 2002]
See Ch. 9 "Writing an Appellate Brief"


Selected Articles 

TITLE:  Some random thoughts on brief writing.
AUTHOR:  Kapelke, Robert J.  
Publication Date:  January 2003.   Page:  29-26.  
32 Colo. Law. 29      

TITLE:  Appellate brief writing in the Eighth Circuit. (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit). 
AUTHOR:  Owens, Dennis.   Publication Date:  March-April 2001.   Page:  75(10). 
57 J. Mo. B. 75 

TITLE:  Judges on briefing: a national survey.       
AUTHOR:  Garner, Bryan A.   Publication Date:  Annual 2001.   Page:  1-34.
8 Scribes J. Legal Writing 1  

TITLE:  Wisdom's idiosyncrasies. (transcript of Judge  John Minor Wisdom's grammatical preferences for legal writing taken from a May 31, 1990 manuscript) (Transcript).
AUTHOR:  Wisdom, John  Minor.   Publication Date:  April 2000.  Page:  1273.
109 Yale L.J. 1273 

TITLE:  Pursuing quality: writing a helpful  brief. (Appellate Law in the New Millennium: Bridging  Theoretical Foundation with Practical Application).  
AUTHOR:  Duncan, Sarah B.   Publication Date:  Summer 1999.   Page:  1093-1136.
30 St. Mary's L.J. 1093  

TITLE:  Points to ponder before writing your next appellate brief.
AUTHOR:  Walsh, Michael G.  Publication Date:  June 1998.   Page:  15(10).
 44 Prac. Law. 15 

TITLE:  The art of writing a really bad brief.       
AUTHOR:  Weis, Joseph F., Jr.   Publication   Date:  October 1996.   Page:  39(2).
 43 Fed. Law. 39

TITLE:  The art of persuasive legal writing: briefs come alive when every word sings to the reader.
AUTHOR:  McElhaney, James W.   Publication Date:  January 1996.   Page:  76(2).
82 A.B.A. J. 76 

TITLE:  Hints on writing law court briefs from some  people who read them.  
AUTHOR:  Carnathan, Sean T.;  Kemble, Karen T.   Publication Date: September 1994.   Page:  318(6).
9 Me. B.J. 318 

Sample Briefs

1. Briefs on Microfiche 

We have a collection of Supreme Court Records and Briefs on microfiche. This includes the Applications for Writ of Certiorari, Briefs and Amicus Curiae Briefs.


Step-by-Step Instructions for Finding Records and Briefs on Microfiche/Microfilm 

  • Find a Supreme Court Case in your area of interest.
  • Note the docket number and the United States Reports cite
  • for cases from 1916 to the present, look up the microfiche by docket number. They start in microfiche cabinet number 10.
  • for cases from 1832 to 1915, look up the microfilm by the United States Reports cite. They start in microfilm cabinet 39.

2. Briefs Online 

Briefs on Westlaw

Legal briefs on Westlaw include briefs, joint appendices and petitions for certiorari from the U.S. Supreme Court (1976 to the present and selected coverage back to 1871), U.S. Court of Appeals (selected coverage from 1976 to the present) and California Supreme Court (1997 to present). Coming in  Fall 2003 are state legal briefs from New York, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Texas and Pennsylvania.

You'll find direct links to legal briefs from cases in Westlaw. Relevant legal briefs are also listed in the KeyCite® references for any case you cite.

Full text Briefs and Amicus Curiae Briefs are available on Westlaw (Database SCT-BRIEF) and on Lexis (Source: US Supreme Court Briefs). The advantage here is that you can word search the briefs (e.g., all briefs containing the term "NEPA").

Westlaw  LexisNexis 
Database Name: U.S. Supreme Court Briefs
Database Identifier: SCT-BRIEF
Source Name: U.S. Supreme Court Briefs
Source Locator: Area of Law - By Topic > Litigation > Cases > Trial Transcripts & Briefs > U.S. Supreme Court Briefs
Database Name: United States Court of Appeals Briefs
Database Identifier: CTA-BRIEF
Database Name: California Supreme Court Briefs
Database Identifier: CA-BRIEF
Database Name: Briefs Multibase
Database Identifier: BRIEF-ALL
(combination of the three databases above)
Source Name: Brief Reporter
Source Locator: Area of Law - By Topic > Litigation > Cases > Trial Transcripts & Briefs > Brief Reporter
(Brief Reporter publishes legal briefs obtained from  attorneys throughout the country. Currently over 5,000 briefs are available online.)

Additional Assistance

If you need any additional research assistance, you can contact me at 935-6484, or stop by my office in Room 455G in the Library.

You may also ask any of our reference librarian's for assistance. You can find a reference librarian at the reference desk, or stop by one of our offices. Follow the link to the Reference Page for hours and locations.