Trade associations and professional organizations do not have to sit on the sidelines while the Supreme Court or lower appellate courts consider legal issues that may significantly affect their members. Amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs give entire industries and professions a direct line of communication to appellate courts on the policy implications and practical impacts of important legal questions.
My article, Make Amicus Briefs Part of Your Advocacy Program, published August 27 by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) in Associations Now, covers amicus brief basics that every trade association and other nonprofit executive should know. The article highlights, for example, the purpose and scope of amicus briefs, requests for amicus support, filing solo or as part of an amicus group, key rules, and amicus brief style and cost.
The article also explains that filing well-written, informative, and non-duplicative amicus briefs can be valuable not only to appellate courts, but also to trade associations themselves. For this reason, when an association or other organization submits an amicus brief, members or supporters and news media should be alerted and provided with a copy of the brief.
Capital Appellate Advocacy founder Larry Ebner has authored numerous amicus briefs for the U.S. Supreme Court, federal courts of appeals, and state appellate courts.