Brief Bank Instructions

Welcome to the Brief Bank of California Appellate Defense Counsel - CADC. CADC’s Brief Bank is an ongoing collaborative effort of the entire membership with the Brief Bank Committee acting as steward and guide. We want your briefs and your feedback! With your help, our Brief Bank can be the most comprehensive and current research tool available to panel attorneys in criminal and dependency appeals. 

You can search by browsing the Category Tree or entering words or phrases in the Search Box. Copy and paste desired text into your word processing program. Adding a brief takes only moments and the brief is immediately available to other users. Please review these instructions, then give it a try. 

How to Search

Browse the Tree

To search the Category Tree from the home page, first click on either Criminal or Dependency, then click the plus sign (+) at a category to reveal subcategories. Clicking the category or subcategory will reveal all documents in that topic. Only the documents listed under that category or subcategory will show. You can also open categories or subcategories in new browser tabs to execute multiple searches. The "Category Tree" link in the top menu for this page will take you to an expanded, searchable tree.

Word Search

Click the Search page link at the top menu or to the right of the Category Tree. Type a word into the Search Box and hit enter. Your results will include all documents containing that word. To search for documents containing two or more words, enter all the words. (Do not include the word "and," or the program will interpret it as a search term.) Your results will only include documents containing all of the words entered. To search for an exact phrase, put the phrase in quotes. 

Focusing Your Search

To search for a word or phrase within a particular category or categories, click the Search page link at the top menu or to the right of the Category Tree. Select one or more categories from the drop-down menu. Type a word or phrase in quotes into the Search Box and hit enter. Your results will include all documents containing that word or phrase in the selected categories. You can also focus your search by author and by result on the Search page.

Search Results

The result list shows a summary of issues and list of tree categories for each document and also highlights your search terms. Once you select a document, use your browser's search function to find a given word or phrase. PC users, search by pressing the control-F buttons. Mac users, press the command-F buttons. Enter the search terms into the search window to locate the terms within the document. Use the “Next” and “Previous” options to find each incidence of the term through the document. The “Highlight all” option highlights all at once your search word or phrase throughout the document. 

You can copy text from the Brief Bank and paste it into a document on your computer in any word processing program. Just use your browser's editing functions to copy - i.e., edit, select all, copy - and your word processor's editing functions to paste.

How to Add a Document to the Brief Bank

Copy and Paste the Document

You can add whole briefs, single arguments, and excerpts ("blurbs") to the Brief Bank from any word processing program. Go to the Add a Brief page to begin. Then select either Criminal or Dependency.

If your document does not have important footnotes or endnotes, it is very simple to add the document. Simply copy the desired text and paste it into the "Body" text box. Next, add the required descriptive information (explained immediately below) and click "submit." If your document has significant footnotes which you want to preserve, see "How to Add Documents with Footnotes" below.

Unfortunately, your formatting will not be preserved so your Brief Bank contributions will not look like the originals. But users can copy and paste the text into their own word processing programs and format it there.

We do not recommend adding .pdf documents to the Brief Bank. In our testing, some .pdf documents were garbled when they were pasted into the text window. Saving a .pdf in a Word or plain text format might resolve the problems but does not always work. It is better to add documents from your word processing program.

Add Descriptive Information

After pasting your document into the text window, please add descriptive information in the left side panel. Required information boxes are marked with an asterisk. 

You must provide a case name (i.e., People v. Jane Smith) and summary of the issues, and you must assign at least one category. If you do not know the case name or do not wish to provide it, you can title the document "Unknown." If using a name, please use both the first and last names of the appellant. 

For the summary section, please summarize the relevant issues and/or arguments: i.e., "third party culpability - unknown perpetrator"; "parental termination - no showing of adoptability"; "failure to instruct on heat of passion voluntary manslaughter as lesser included offense of murder"; "ICWA - inadequate notice"; "cruel and unusual - effective LWOP for juvenile."

If you do not wish to include identifying information in your Brief Bank submission - i.e., the name of the defendant, the judge, the prosecutor, defense trial counsel, or yourself - please just remove such information before adding your brief and leave the author field blank.

Assign Categories

To assign a category, click on the categories box, scroll through the pull-down list of options, and click on the appropriate category or subcategory. You must assign at least one category for each document added but you can assign as many categories as you want - just repeat the process for each category. You can remove a category from your list by clicking the “remove” button. You can open a second tree in a new browser window to help you navigate. Just open a new browser tab, go to the Brief Bank, and click the "Category Tree" tab at the top of the page. 

When you are finished, click the submit button to add the document to the Brief Bank. Once a document is submitted, you will not be able to remove it or make any changes. Please e-mail the Brief Bank Committee if you want your document removed or changed and we will make the changes for you.

How to Add Documents with Footnotes


Documents in Word can be copied and pasted into the Brief Bank window just as you would copy and paste text from a document to an email or to another document. 


WordPerfect documents must be converted to and opened in Word or opened with a free, downloadable program called LibreOffice to preserve the footnotes. LibreOffice is available for both Windows and Mac, and uses an interface that is similar to older versions of Word.

To convert a WordPerfect document using LibreOffice, start LibreOffice and then open the document using LibreOffice. Once the document is open you can save it in the .odt format, and then copy this new document and paste it into the Body text box. 

Nisus Writer

Users of Nisus Writer have more flexibility than WordPerfect users. As for WordPerfect, a Nisus document can be converted using LibreOffice to preserve the footnotes. The document can also be converted to plain text format. 

To convert a Nisus document with LibreOffice, copy the document in Nisus and then paste it into a new LibreOffice document. Save it as an .odt file, and then copy this new document and paste it into the Body text box. To convert a document to a plain text file, choose "save as" from the file menu, and then select "plain text" in the file format section of the save dialog. In a plain text document, the footnote is converted to an endnote and will be found at the very end of your document.


Try a Different Web Browser

The Brief Bank has been tested using Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome. All four browsers seem to work for most users but some users have had problems with Internet Explorer. If you are having trouble adding a brief, we recommend that you try a different browser. Use the most recent version possible of IE, as well,

Contact the Brief Bank Committee

Because this Brief Bank is maintained by the efforts of its users, we encourage you to try adding briefs first. However, if you have difficulty or you do not want to convert a document yourself, please post it in the Brief Bank forum of the CADC website along with descriptive information - i.e., name and type of document, summary of issues, and at least one category. We will be happy to convert the document and add it to the Brief Bank for you.


After a document is submitted, anyone can add a comment or view existing comments by clicking the "Comments" tab at the bottom left of the screen. The Comments tab appears when a document is selected after a search or immediately after adding the document. The Comments tab can be used to indicate subsequent developments in the law or in the particular case, to indicate the author when that person is not a CADC member, or to indicate that a brief incorporated the work of someone else, for instance.

Authors and Contributors

The Authors tab allows you to view documents written by a particular author, including yourself. The Contributors tab allows you to view documents added to the Brief Bank by a particular contributor, including yourself. Click on a name to view a list of the individual documents written or added by that person. Documents are immediately available for viewing and copying once submitted.

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