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Amicus Briefs Resources

Treatises and Practice Guides

Practical Law Amicus Brief Practice Notes, Checklists & Standard Documents

Practical Law on Westlaw contains a number Practice Notes, Checklists and Standard Documents covering the filing of an amicus brief in a number of U.S. Courts of Appeals. Unfortunately there is not currently a checklist or standard document for the First Circuit. However, these resources contain general guidance and references to federal rules applicable in all the circuits, so still might be useful for an amicus filing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Here are a few examples for the Second Circuit:

Practice Note: Second Circuit Civil Appeals: Amicus Curiae Briefs
Standard Document: Second Circuit Amicus Brief
Second Circuit Amicus Curiae Brief Checklist

Federal Court Rules

Important Practice Tip: Some of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure were recently amended.  Not all treatises or practice materials reflect these amendments that went into effect on December 1, 2016, so use the following sources to find the text of the current rules.

Like other court filings, the format, contents, and timing of the filing of amicus briefs are governed by court rules.  The following is a list of rules you should consider when filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Annotated versions of these court rules can be found on Lexis Advance and Westlaw.  Freely available, unannotated versions of these rules appear in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit Rulebook [PDF].

Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure

FRAP 29: Brief of an Amicus Curiae
FRAP 28: Briefs
FRAP 32: Form of Briefs, Appendices and Other Papers

Local Rules

Local Rule 32.0: Computer Generated Disk Requirement for Documents Filed in Paper Form
Local Rule 32.2: Citation of State Decisions and Law Review Articles
Local Rule 32.4: Motions for Leave to File Oversized Briefs

Administrative Order Regarding Case Management/Electronic Case Files System [PDF]

Federal Courts Records & Briefs

  • Access: requires password; all BC Law students are issued Bloomberg Law passwords 
  • Coverage: varies by court; see the Docket Coverage link under the Litigation and Dockets tab for specific coverage information
  • Filings: click on the number next to your entry. If the number is blue, the document will be readily available. If green, you can request the document (we do not incur a fee). If the document is not available electronically, you'll get a message saying that a courier is necessary. This has to be approved and requested by a reference librarian. 
  • Note: be sure to check currency information at the top of the docket; you can click on the "Update Docket" and it will refresh with current information. BC Law does not incur a charge for updating or tracking dockets.
  • Access: Click on Dockets link from main page, and choose jurisdiction. On Westlaw Classic, use database identifier DOCK-DCT-ALL (all federal district courts combined) or DOCK-[postal abbreviation of individual state]-DCT (e.g. DOCK-MA-DCT for Massachusetts)
  • Coverage: comprehensive full docket coverage from 2000-present; various districts have additional index coverage for earlier years
  • Filings: Check filings tab. BC Law does not have access to all filings, but we do have access to briefs, which should be linked here. 
  • Note: Be sure to check currency information at the top of the docket and update, if necessary.
  • Access: No student or faculty access to Courtlink. To access docket sheets from Lexis Advance, use the Dockets filter and run a search for the docket number or parties. Unfortunately, the filings are not linked from the docket sheets. To find filings, use the Briefs, Pleadings, and Motions filter.

  • Access: requires password and a fee for accessing documents; discuss access options with a reference librarian if you can't find the information through the resources listed above. 
  • Coverage: current docket information is available; historical coverage varies from court to court but often goes decades back
  • Filings: links are often provided to PDFs of filings, particularly for more recent cases.
  • Note: if you need more information or documents than that provided on PACER or these other resources, contact a reference librarian about other options. This may involve a courier, if the document is essential. 

Click here for links to each court's individual PACER site