On average, I brief about 10 cases a day. Briefing a case is basically reading it, and pulling out relevant facts and find why the judge decided the way he did. Here is a rather humorous case to describe how the first part of briefing works.
The Facts: Cordas v Peerless Transportation Co.
As a lonely chauffeur in defendant’s employ he became in a trice the protagonist in a breath-bating drama with a denouement almost tragic. It appears that a man, whose identity it would be indelicate to divulge, was a feloniously relieved of his portable goods by two nondescript highwaymen in an alley near 26th street and Third Avenue, Manhattan; they induced him to relinquish is possession by...a most persuasive pistol”
Brief would say: Man was robbed at gunpoint by two men.
Laden with their loot, but not thereby impeded, they took an abrupt departure and he...quickly gave chase through 26th Street toward 2d Avenue, whither they were resorting “with expedition swift as through” for most obvious reasons
They ran, and he chased them.
He saw [them] board the defendant’ taxicab which quickly veered toward 25th and 2d Avenue, where he saw the chauffeur jump out of the cab still in motion.
The robbers jumped in a cab, and the cab driver jumped out of the moving cab.
According to the cab driver his passenger immediately advised him to stand not upon the order of his going but go at once [and] in the event there was the slightest lapse in obedience to his curt command that he, the chauffeur, would suffer the loss of his brains
The cab driver claims the robber threatened to shoot him if he didn’t drive.
Well you get the picture for the first section of a brief (oh by the way, the conclusion is the taxi jumped the curb and hit a mother with her children) Then I would go on to talk about how the judge decided that becasue he feared for his life, he was not held responsible. It is like reading the script of a movie when you’d rather be watching the video, and then dumbing down the plot so you can talk about it quickly and move on. The trick is to not dumb it down so much to miss the important points that the teacher will drill you on in class. After the facts is when you deal with the issues in a case, rules and precedent, and the judge's ruling.
And a little brief humor