Amicus Brief Practicum

Offered in the spring, students in this practicum will study the role of New York State's highest Court in law and governance.

The instructors will enlighten aspiring appellate attorneys as to how to think like, and how to best communicate with, the Court and its counsels.  Student are required to prepare a bench brief with respect to a case pending before the New York State Court of Appeals, and to draft a proposed opinion resolving that appeal.

Instructors will encourage students to view the law through a panoramic lens. Familiar, landmark cases will be used as illustrations of the importance of broader thinking in decision-making and the potential for extensive, lasting impact of a court decision.  

Later in the semester, students will apply those behind-the-curtain lessons to collectively identify a case or cases appropriate for amicus curiae treatment. An amicus brief has many important functions.  It can bolster a party's brief, provide a more sympathetic or effective advocate, address an important public policy issue, and present evidence to a court outside of the record on appeal. Students will partner with potential amici and with faculty to collaborate on the research, drafting, and submission of an amicus brief for consideration in a suitable matter or matters. 

Ample time and opportunity for classroom discussion, debate, and conference will be provided at all times during this course.