Learning the High Art of Amicus Brief Writing

There is an art to writing amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs. Capital Appellate Advocacy’s Larry Ebner, who serves DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar as Chair of its Amicus Committee, has written an article in the February 2017 edition of For The Defense, “Learning the High Art of Amicus Brief Writing.”  The article — which has been republished in the Michigan Defense Quarterly (Michigan Defense Trial Counsel), New Mexico Defense Lawyers Journal (New Mexico Defense Lawyers Ass’n), and The Defense Line (South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys’ Ass’n) — offers the following guidelines:

  • Keep it short
  • Utilize the Interest of the Amicus Curiae section to engage the court
  • Avoid getting bogged down by the facts of the case
  • Stick to the questions presented
  • Do not repeat the supported party’s legal arguments
  • Write in an elevated and restrained tone
  • Edit, and re-edit, your brief
  • Do not allow the supported party or its counsel to write your brief
  • The “Amicus Machine” should not deter you from learning the high art of amicus brief writing

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