What makes for a good, effective, and influential amicus brief?
You’re right to focus on amicus briefs. By the time a case lands in the U.S. Supreme Court, the parties generally have plenty of amicus support. In the lower appellate courts, however, parties often overlook the value of having amici curiae support their cause. The first task is thus not writing the amicus brief, but knowing where to look to find amici that might be interested in supporting your side of the case. Finding amici is an important skill unto itself. Once the amici are lined up, you can start thinking about the nature of the briefs. Amicus briefs can serve many different purposes. Sometimes, the substance of the brief is less important than the identity of the amici: Who they are speaks so loudly, it doesn’t matter what they say. No matter who the amicus is, however, the brief should bring a new perspective to the case; rehashing a party’s position doesn’t add any value. At the same time, amici are not permitted to inject new arguments that weren’t made in the trial court. A