Research guides


Memorandum of Law/Writing a Brief (Philadelphia)

Most petitions and motions submitted to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas must be accompanied by a memorandum of law. The memorandum, or brief, is a persuasive argument specific to the facts of your case which must be written according to the format described in the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Court Rules (see below). It is recommended that you use statutes, regulations, case law, or other resources as needed to support your argument. You may wish to conduct research in these types of materials at Jenkins.

Librarians and staff at Jenkins Law Library are not able to give legal advice, select or fill out forms, write briefs or memoranda, or conduct any research for you. We cannot read over your documents or provide feedback regarding what is acceptable to the courts. For a more in-depth description of what you can and cannot find at Jenkins, please see the Before You Begin page of this guide.

PA Court Rules

Pennsylvania outlines some general requirements to be included when writing a brief. A relevant Pennsylvania Court Rule can be found below.

Pennsylvania Civil Rule of Procedure 210: Form of Briefs

To access Pennsylvania Court Rules in print, see Pennsylvania Rules of Court (Thomson Reuters/West). For more information, see the Pennsylvania Court Rules - State guide.

For more specific requirements, also check the county court rules for the county in which you will file. Relevant Philadelphia County Court Rules are listed below.

Phila County Court Rules

Philadelphia County outlines specific requirements to be included when writing a memorandum of law. Relevant Philadelphia County Court Rules are listed below.

        • Philadelphia Civil Rule 208.2(c): Briefing Requirement
        • Philadelphia Civil Rule 210: Brief

The Philadelphia court rules are available on the court's website. See CP-Trial Division-Civil.

The Philadelphia court rules are also available in print in the library as well as on the library's Lexis and Westlaw computers. For more information about county court rules see the Pennsylvania Court Rules - County guide.


The following resources in the Jenkins Law Library print collection may be helpful when writing a memorandum of law.

A Brief Guide to Brief Writing: Demystifying the Memorandum of Law American Bar Association
This book provides a general introduction to brief writing. Please consult Philadelphia Civil Rule 210 for specifics on writing a Memorandum of Law in the Philadelphia courts.

The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation Harvard Law Review Association
Consult this source for the correct ways to cite statutes, regulations, case law, and other resources.

Philadelphia County Court Rules American Lawyer Media
See Civil Court Rules 208.2(c) and 210.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Civil Practice Manual Pennsylvania Bar Association
Form 5-1F presents one sample, titled "Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiff's Petition for Special Injunction." This sample form is intended to provide an example of the layout and structure of a memorandum of law. You will need to rewrite your own memorandum under a similar format, as it applies to the specific facts of your case. This form should not be copied word-for-word.

Additional Resources

You may wish to conduct your own research using resources in Jenkins Law Library to support your argument. For more information about where to find Pennsylvania statutes, regulations, cases, court rules, and more, see our PA Law guides.