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Amicus Briefs Resources

Checklist Note

This checklist is modeled after Westlaw's Second Circuit Civil Appeals: Amicus Curiae Briefs by Practical Law Litigation.

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Consult Relevant Procedural Rules

Attorneys should always review the relevant sections of the following rules before drafting, serving, and filing an amicus curiae brief with the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit:

  • The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (FRAP), especially:

    • FRAP 28, governing the contents of briefs;

    • FRAP 29, governing amicus briefs; and

    • FRAP 32, governing the format of briefs.

  • The First Circuit's Local Rules and Internal Operating Procedures, especially:

Obtain or Renew Admission to Practice in the First Circuit

Content Requirements for the Amicus Brief

The amicus brief must include requirements as set forth in FRAP 29(a)(4) and 32(a)(2), as well as 1st Cir. R. 30.0 (Appendix), 31.0 (Filing), and 32.0 (Computer Generated Disk Requirement for Documents Filed in Paper Form).

  • A corporate disclosure statement. An amicus curiae that is a non-governmental, corporate entity must file a statement that identifies any parent corporation and any publicly held corporation that owns 10% or more of its stock, or states that neither entity exists (FRAP 26.1 and 29(a)(4)(A)).
  • A table of contents. The amicus brief must include a table of contents identifying the sections included in the amicus brief and the page numbers on which each begins (FRAP 28(a)(2) and 29(a)(4)(B)).

  • A table of authorities. The amicus brief must include a table of authorities listing the cases, statutes, and other authorities cited in the amicus brief along with the pages where the amicus curiae has cited each authority. Cases must appear in alphabetical order. (FRAP 28(a)(3) and 29(a)(4)(C)).

  • A statement of identification. The amicus brief must include a statement that identifies:

    • the amicus curiae;

    • the amicus curiae's interest in the appeal; and

    • the authority allowing the amicus curiae to file a brief (consent of the parties to the appeal, leave of the court, or court rule). (FRAP 29(a)(4)(D)).

  • An argument. The amicus brief must include a section stating its full argument. The argument section must include:

    • the amicus curiae's contentions and the legal reasons supporting them;

    • citations to legal authorities and any record materials relied on by the amicus curiae; and

    • the text of any statutes, regulations, rules, or other authorities whose study is necessary for disposition of the appeal, if not included in an appendix or separate volume (FRAP 28(f) and 29(a)(4)(F))

  • A conclusion. Although not required, attorneys commonly include a concise statement identifying the precise result the amicus curiae supports in the appeal (FRAP 28(a)(9)).

  • A signature. The amicus brief must be signed by one of the attorneys representing the amicus curiae (FRAP 32(d)). 

  • A certificate of compliance. An amicus brief longer than 15 pages must include a certificate by the amicus curiae's attorney stating that the amicus brief complies with the type-volume limitations under the FRAP (FRAP 29(a)(4)(G), (a)(5) and 32(a)(7), (g)).

  • Proof of service. For electronic filings with service by a copy of the disk, the certificate of service must indicate service of the brief, petition for rehearing, and, in addition, all other papers exceeding 10 pages in length in both paper and electronic format (FRAP 25(d) and 1st. Cir. R. 32(c)).


Formatting the Amicus Brief

The amicus brief must conform to the following requirements:

  • Page and line count. The amicus brief may not exceed 15 pages without prior approval from the court (FRAP 29(a)(5) and 32(a)(7)).

  • Page size. An amicus must prepare its brief on 8.5" by 11" pages (FRAP 32(a)(4)).

  • Line spacing. The amicus brief must use double-spaced text, except for quotations more than two lines long, headings, and footnotes (FRAP 32(a)(4)).

  • Margins. The amicus brief must contain margins at least one inch on all four sides of the page. No text except for page numbers may appear in the margins (FRAP 32(a)(4)).

  • Font. An amicus must write its brief in:

    • black type;

    • a plain, roman style font, except amici must underline or italicize case names and may occasionally use italics or boldface for emphasis; and

    • either at least a 14-point proportionally spaced font with serifs (such as Century) or a monospaced font with no more than 10.5 characters per inch (such as 12-point Courier) (FRAP 32(a)(1), (5), (6)).

  • Electronic copies of the amicus brief must be in PDF format (1st Cir. R. 32.0).

  • Binding. An amicus must bind its brief in a way that is secure, does not obscure the text, and permits the brief to lie reasonably flat when open (FRAP 32(a)(3)). Amici using 8.5" by 11" paper must print their briefs single-sided (FRAP 32(a)(1)).

Serve and File the Amicus Brief

  • Use CM/ECF to serve the amicus brief on all other counsel and file it with the First Circuit. (FRPC 25(d) and 1st Cir. R. 32.0).

  • Serve any parties exempt from CM/ECF with two copies of the brief by paper means and file proof of service with the brief. Acceptable methods of paper service include:

    • personal delivery;

    • first-class mail; and

    • third-party commercial carrier for delivery within three days (FRAP 25(b)-(d) and FRAP 31(b)).

  • After electronically filing the amicus brief, file nine paper copies of the brief (1st Cir. R. 31.0(b)). The paper copies must be identical to the electronic copy except that they must have green covers (FRAP 32(a)(2)).