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Amicus Curiae Briefs

On the field of battle, the spoken word does not carry far enough: hence the institution of gongs and drums. Nor can ordinary objects be seen clearly enough: hence the institution of banners and flags.
Sun Tzu

Sometimes a court is deciding a case that can make or break you, but that does not actually involve you. Maybe one of the parties to the case will highlight the facts that are important to you, or make the arguments that could persuade the court to do something that might help you, but maybe not. The only way to make sure the court has an opportunity to consider your interests and think about your story is to be an amicus curiae: a friend of the court.

As an amicus, you need to be able to put your best arguments in front of the court, and do so in a way that the court will notice. That is a far more challenging goal than it might appear to be at first. Consider what happens to amicus briefs in the Texas Supreme Court.

Like many other appellate courts, the Supreme Court employs clerks and staff attorneys who prepare memos to help the justices prepare for oral arguments and internal conferences. The memos the judges read typically list the names of the people or organizations that filed the briefs, and note which side the briefs support.

What very few people realize is that the memo will discuss an individual brief only if it presents an argument that is different from the arguments in the other briefs. And because amicus briefs tend to repeat the arguments in the other briefs, the only two pieces of information that the judges usually know about an amicus brief is the name of the amicus, and who the amicus supports.

Trust Cobb & Counsel’s Experience in Writing Amicus Briefs

You could spend tens of thousands of dollars and weeks of your life preparing a document that will have absolutely no effect, of any kind, on the outcome of one of the most important events of your life.

We are different. We write amicus briefs that do not repeat the arguments that other briefs make. We craft interesting, innovative arguments that the court will notice, and that will actually help you.

We are able to do that because we pay attention to what the judges have written in the past. We will not write something that impresses us, and satisfies you, but which does not address the issues that judges actually look for to decide cases like the one that affects you. Similarly, we do not just make creative arguments to be different; we make distinctive arguments to offer a fresh, thought-provoking perspective on the problem the court is trying to solve.

We know how to talk to courts.  Our lawyers have briefed, argued, and won appeals in both Texas state and federal appellate courts, including the Fifth Circuit and D.C. Circuit Courts of Appeal.

As seasoned appellate lawyers know, a fresh perspective and different approach frequently assists courts in their analysis, and helps guide them to a favorable outcome.

Our competitive flat fee arrangements for amicus assistance provide corporate counsel and trade associations with a cost-effective alternative to direct advocacy.

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