ABA Amicus Briefs

Guidelines for Requesting an ABA Amicus Brief:

Please review the ABA guidelines for filing an amicus brief, summarized below.  It is very helpful to us if you can prepare a statement describing what argument(s) you are proposing that the ABA make in the brief, and how ABA polic(ies) support the arguments.  The proposed argument(s) must not be a restatement of those bring made by other parties; please also explain why the ABA in particular should file an amicus brief on the issue.  Please note that amicus briefs are ordinarily due to the ABA 30 days in advance of the brief deadline.

In general, the ABA submits amicus curiae briefs only for cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Rarely, the ABA will submit an amicus brief for a case before a U.S. Court of Appeals, or at the certiorari stage, or before an appellate court that is the court of last resort.  ABA amicus briefs are available on the ABA website.

The ABA will only authorize the filing of an amicus brief when the position advanced is:

  1. consistent with existing ABA policy; or, in rare cases,
  2. a matter of compelling interest which the Board of Governors then adopts as ABA policy; or
  3. of special significance to lawyers or the legal profession.

ABA policy summaries are available at here under “Policies adopted by the ABA House of Delegates.”  The full text of policies and reports are available upon request.   

Application Process:

An application must be submitted to the amicus committee as well as to any ABA entity that may have an interest in the issue. If the application is approved, the brief must be submitted to the committee as well as to the ABA secretary 30 days before the brief must be filed, or in an emergency, 10 full business days before the filing date.  The Committee will review the brief to determine whether it is (1) a fair representation of ABA policy; (2) constitutes a significant contribution to consideration of the issue; and (3) is of sufficient quality to be filed by the ABA.

The amicus committee will review the brief, which must also be reviewed and approved by the ABA Board of Governors (or the Board’s Executive Committee if there is insufficient time for full Board review).

Please visit the Standing Committee on Amicus Curiae Briefs' website if you would like a copy of the complete ABA amicus brief policy or the application form.