Strategic Use of Amicus Briefs in Appellate Advocacy

Drafting Effective Amicus Briefs; Soliciting and Coordinating Amici Curiae; Working With the Government as Amicus Curiae in Your Case

A live 90-minute CLE webinar with interactive Q&A

Thursday, October 12, 2017
1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

Early Registration Discount Deadline, Friday, September 22, 2017

This CLE webinar will provide practical guidance to appellate attorneys, litigators and in-house litigation managers on the strategic use of amicus briefs in appellate advocacy. The panel will offer guidance on soliciting and coordinating amicus support, as well as insights and advice on writing amicus briefs and responding to the government when it appears as amicus curiae.


Amicus briefs are playing an increasingly influential role in the U.S. Supreme Court, at both the certiorari and merits stages, and in other federal or state court appeals. A properly prepared and truly persuasive amicus brief can expand, or add valuable perspective to, the parties’ legal arguments.

Amici also address the importance and impact of the questions presented to the court. This includes supporting a certiorari petition or other petition for review by explaining why review is important to the amicus curiae, the industry that it represents, and the public. But a “me too” amicus brief that merely replicates a party’s legal arguments fails in its mission to serve as a “friend of the court.”

Amicus counsel not only must be familiar with procedural requirements governing submission of amicus briefs, but also familiar with the style in which they should be written. And from the viewpoint of a party’s counsel, knowing when and how to solicit amicus support, and how to coordinate multiple amici to avoid duplicative or excessive briefs, is crucial.

Listen as our panel of experienced appellate attorneys discusses the tactical use of amicus briefs in appellate advocacy. The panel will offer a wealth of information on both amicus brief strategy and the art of drafting persuasive amicus briefs.


  1. Procedural requirements governing amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate courts
  2. Why, when and how to solicit and coordinate amicus support
  3. Elements of an effective amicus brief
  4. The government as amicus curiae


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What strategic considerations affect the decisions on whether to solicit and/or file amicus briefs?
  • What are the elements of an effective statement of interest?
  • What unique considerations should counsel consider at the discretionary review stage versus the merits stage?
  • How can appellate attorneys, trial counsel and in-house counsel most effectively team on preparation of amicus briefs?
  • What special issues are involved when the Solicitor General is invited by the U.S. Supreme Court to file an amicus brief on behalf of the United States? When state attorneys general file as amici curiae?


Lawrence S. Ebner, Founder
Capital Appellate Advocacy, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Ebner is an accomplished appellate advocate, strategist, and analyst. He has authored dozens of amicus briefs for the Supreme Court, federal courts of appeals, and state appellate courts.   In 2016, he decided to depart Big Law, and launch his own solo appellate practice, which focuses on federal issues important to businesses and industries.  Mr. Ebner is a fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, chair of the Amicus Committee for DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar, and a 1972 graduate of Harvard Law School.

Averil Rothrock, Shareholder
Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt, Seattle

Ms. Rothrock focuses her practice on appellate law, including motion practice, appellate brief writing and oral advocacy. She assists trial lawyers to position their case for appeal. She also assists clients to appear in appellate proceedings as friends of the court through amicus curiae briefing. She has a broad range of experience in litigation, including arbitrations, mediations, dispositive motions, trials, and appeals.

Mary-Christine (M.C.) Sungaila, Partner
Haynes & Boone, Costa Mesa, Calif.

Ms. Sungaila briefs and argues appeals raising cutting-edge and core business issues, and helps secure important rights for women nationally and internationally. She provides pretrial and trial consultations in cases where an appeal by either side appears inevitable or a “key case” outcome might impact a whole series of cases for a client. Her work has helped to preserve the attorney-client privilege, develop the standards for the admission of expert testimony, determine limits to the reach of class actions and securities laws, extend the assumption of the risk doctrine, develop rules for preventing compelled speech under the First Amendment, define the scope of the duty to warn sophisticated users of product hazards, clarify the standards for interstate enforcement of non-compete agreements and reverse significant judgments for clients.

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