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California Lawyers Association

Amicus Policy

An amicus brief may be filed, or joined in, in accordance with the following requirements.

A. An amicus brief may be filed only in a state or federal appellate court unless the Board specifically approves filing an amicus brief in a trial court or other tribunal.

B. An amicus brief may be filed only if one or more of the following criteria are satisfied:

  1. The court has specifically requested the views of CLA, a Section, or a committee; or
  2. The issues directly affect CLA’s activities; or
  3. (a) The issues are of substantial importance to the legal profession, the practice of law, or the administration of justice; (b) the issues are within the expertise or specialized knowledge of the CLA, the Section, or the committee; and (c) the views of CLA, the Section, or the committee appear likely to make a material contribution to the court’s understanding of the issues.

C. Advancing a position that is ideological, partisan, or highly controversial or divisive is disfavored.

D. The Board will establish and maintain an Amicus Committee with at least five members. Each member shall be an attorney and member in good standing of the State Bar of California, experienced in appellate litigation, and well-qualified to evaluate whether an amicus brief satisfies the criteria and is of high professional quality. Each member will be appointed for a two-year term, which the Board may renew.

E. A Section, the Board, or the Board’s designee may submit to the Amicus Committee an application to file or participate in an amicus brief. The application shall state:

  1. The person(s) or entity submitting the application;
  2. The entity/entities on behalf of which the amicus brief is to be filed;
  3. The current case caption, case number, and name of the current court.
  4. The lower court case caption, case number, and name of the lower court.
  5. The case caption and case number of any related case.
  6. The amicus brief due date and any other relevant case deadlines.
  7. A brief summary of the issues presented in the proceeding.
  8. A brief statement of the position to be asserted in the amicus brief and its relation to the issues presented.
  9. A brief explanation how the criteria stated in section B are satisfied.
  10. State when and how the submitting entity decided to file the application, and summarize any dissenting views.
  11. Identify any individual or organization participating in the decision to submit the application who has any personal or professional interest in the case, and explain the bases for that interest.
  12. Provide the name, employer or law firm affiliation, email address, and phone number of the individuals who have agreed to draft the proposed amicus brief, and state why they are qualified to do so.
  13. List any other Sections or committees that may have expertise or specialized knowledge relevant to the issues presented or position to be asserted, state that they have been given a copy of this application, and provide a brief summary of their responses.
  14. Provide an outline of the proposed amicus brief.

E. An amicus brief application shall be submitted to the Amicus Committee sufficiently far in advance of the filing deadline to allow time for the preparation, review and approval of the brief.

F. The Amicus Committee may provisionally approve or deny the application. If the Amicus Committee provisionally approves the application, the Amicus Committee will work closely with the drafters to prepare the proposed amicus brief.

G. After the proposed amicus brief is completed and the Amicus Committee has determined that the brief satisfies the criteria stated in section B and is of high professional quality, the Amicus Committee may approve the brief for filing. The Amicus Committee shall provide a copy of the brief to the Board together with a summary of the brief and a brief explanation of these determinations by the Amicus Committee.

H. Notice shall go out to all chairs that a Section intends to proceed with an Amicus Brief. The notice shall period to object shall be 10 days’ notice, unless the Amicus Committee believes the period should be less time, but in any case notice must be no less than two business days. Any disputes between Sections regarding an Amicus brief shall be addressed with the Sections through the Governmental Affairs Director (“GAD”) and resolved by GAD. If the GAD is unable to resolve dispute, the brief cannot go forward.

Adopted by the Board of Representatives of the California Lawyers Association on January 18, 2018; Amended by the Board of the California Lawyers Association on January 18, 2018.

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