Judges and their clerks are busy people. By the time they reach the end of your brief, they’re ready to move onto the next brief in the case, or the next case on the docket. For this reason, the conclusion section of your brief shouldn’t repeat any of the arguments introduced in the preliminary statement and fleshed out in the argument section. Instead, it should state only the relief sought.
Often, the conclusion can be short and simple:
For the reasons set forth above, the Court should grant summary judgment dismissing the complaint in its entirety.
Sometimes, however, the relief you seek is more complicated. This is common when you seek injunctive relief, or when you’re asking an appellate court to modify a lower court’s order. In those circumstances, if you don’t specify the precise relief your client seeks, you might not get it. Here’s an example of a complex conclusion (from an appellate brief):
For the foregoing reasons, this Court should:
- reverse the December 20, 2010 Order and Judgment in its entirety; or, in the alternative
- modify the Order and Judgment by:
- deleting the names of Smith and Jones from decretal paragraphs 1–3;
- deleting decretal paragraphs 2(d) and (e);
- striking from decretal paragraph 2 the sums of $208,695.15 and $235,440.15 and replacing those figures with $42,774.86 and $69,519.86, respectively;
- adding a decretal paragraph providing that the complaint is dismissed in its entirety as against Smith and Jones;
- and as so modified, affirm the Order and Judgment; and
- grant such further and different relief as may be just and proper.
As you can see, if your conclusion is complicated, you can help the Court understand exactly what relief you’re seeking by presenting the information in a visually organized manner.
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