Five Reasons Every Young Appellate Lawyer Should Write Pro Bono Amicus Briefs. There are few more rewarding or meaningful ways to volunteer than writing a pro bono amicus brief

AuthorAndrew Tutt
Pages4-9
Appellate Practice
American Bar Association Litigation Section
Fall 2021, Vol. 41 No. 1
© 2021 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be
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August 27, 2021
Five Reasons Every Young Appellate Lawyer
Should Write Pro Bono Amicus Briefs
There are few more rewarding or meaningful ways to
volunteer than writing a pro bono amicus brief.
By Andrew Tutt
Amicus briefs are a mainstay of federal appellate practice. Every year seems to bring more
amicus briefs at the U.S. Supreme Court. According to R. Reeves Anderson and Anthony
Franze, we are witnessing a decade-long surge in amicus briefs.Brown v. Board of
Education had six amicus briefs. Bostock v. Clayton County had 94. Since 2010, amici at the
Supreme Court alone have filed more than 8,000 briefs, participated in 96 percent of all
argued cases, and were cited by the justices in more than half of their rulings.” An explosion
in amicus briefs has also taken place in the courts of appeals. Major appeals involving
nationally important issues routinely garner numerous supporting amicus briefs on both
sides from professors, organizations, and even state attorney generals. This is the amicus
machine” at work, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
The predictable consequence of this state of affairs is that young appellate lawyers are
being asked more often if they might spare some time to write a pro bono amicus brief on
behalf of a legal scholar or a national organization. But given the hectic pace and
responsibilities of private practice, the question arises: Is it worth it? Should a young
appellate lawyer go to the trouble to find a sponsoring partner, clear conflicts, open a
matter, and even recruit a team of associates, all so she can spend several Saturdays
alternating between Westlaw and an unforgiving Microsoft Word document?
The answer is an emphatic yes. There are at least five reasons young appellate lawyers
should jump at the chance to write pro bono amicus briefs. First, and most importantly,
they help the courts to decide difficult high-stakes cases. Second, they offer invaluable
experience in all of the core areas that appellate lawyers need: strategy, research, and
writing; occasionally they even offer one-of-a-kind opportunities that are typically
unavailable to young attorneys. Third, they offer the opportunity to establish important
relationships and connections with scholars and national organizations that can prove
invaluable over the course of an appellate lawyer’s career. Fourth, they can enhance your

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