Amicus Advocacy (Lindell)
MW 1:30PM - 2:50PM
Tanenbaum Hall 112
The past decade has seen an enormous increase in the filing – and influence – of amicus, or “friend-of-the-court,” briefs in federal and state appellate courts. During its 2019-20 term, the U.S. Supreme Court received a record high average of 16 amicus briefs per case argued, and the justices cited amicus briefs in 65% of cases involving amicus participation. Amicus briefs can play a critical role in a court’s decision-making by emphasizing the impact of the case on certain populations or industries, by presenting legal arguments not advanced or fully developed by the parties, and by offering specialized expertise on a topic.
This class will provide students an opportunity to design, research, and draft an amicus brief based on a real-world case. Students will work in teams to represent an organizational client in one of three simulated appellate cases, each reflecting different styles of amicus advocacy. The first half of the semester will cover amicus strategy and research techniques, including incorporation of nonlegal sources into legal argument. Students will then work in pairs during the second half of the semester to draft and revise their amicus briefs. The class will also include short simulations designed to enhance oral communication skills, including a mid-semester client meeting and a final “Press Conference,” where students will communicate their main legal points to a lay audience. Through its experiential design and skills-based instruction, this course aims to use the framework of amicus advocacy to teach the written and oral communication skills that are essential to appellate practice more generally.
Skills Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of the individual course skill; Demonstrate the ability to receive and implement feedback; Demonstrate an understanding of how and when the individual course skill is employed in practice.
Courts and the Judicial System Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of both substantive and procedural issues in the operation of our legal system; Perform legal analysis in the context of procedural issues and the judicial process; Communicate effectively on topics related to procedure and the judicial process; Demonstrate an understanding of how procedural issues and the judicial process affect all other area of our legal system.
Public Interest Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of the varied legal aspects of public interest law; Perform legal analysis in the context of public interest law; Communicate effectively on topics related to public interest law; Demonstrate an understanding of how public interest law is connected to and affected by a wide variety of legal and regulatory structures and doctrines.