To "brief" a case is to analyze the decision of an appellate court according to a simple formula, designed to help you organize your thinking so that you can discuss court rulings in a coherent and logical way. The formula involves following a kind of "recipe", which will help you think logically about the elements of a court's decision.
The first thing to consider in analyzing any case is the fact pattern. You must know what the dispute between the parties to the lawsuit was, how the lower court decided the dispute, and why the case is up on appeal. The facts are important because they determine what rule of law applies to the case.
I need to analyze appellate court decisions which decide questions of law. When an appellate court reviews a case, after it looks at the facts of the case, it must state the question posed by the facts and the rule of law used by the lower court. This question is called the issue. In "briefing" cases, therefore, you must first state the relevant facts, then the issue which the appellate court is deciding. The next step is then to state the rule of law which the appellate court believes applies to the case. Next, the court will give its holding, which is a statement of how the court thinks the law applies to the facts, that is, its reasoning. When "briefing" cases, therefore, it is necessary to follow this "recipe":