Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Amicus Brief: Getting the Court's Attention

At a recent symposium at my school, Professor Kevin Walsh, a former SCOTUS clerk, offered advice on getting the Court and its clerks to pay attention to your amicus brief.

Today, the Court receives an enormous number of amicus briefs, many simply repeat the arguments in the main briefs. They get minimal attention. As an advocate, your job is to get the Court's readers to realize immediately that your brief has something significant to offer. How? Draft the Table of Contents to get the Court's attention.

I always have told students to view every part of a brief as an effort at advocacy. I have emphasized the importance of the Summary of Argument. I now also will encourage them to pay particular attention to the Table of Contents.


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