King County Bar Association
2017 Amicus Brief Committee & Policy
A. AMICUS BRIEF COMMITTEE
- Introductory Statement. To ensure that the King County Bar Association (“KCBA”) is able to address issues relevant to and of substantial importance to the KCBA through appropriate participation as amicus curiae in pending appellate matters, the Board of Trustees of the KCBA (“the Board”) establishes the Amicus Brief Committee (“Committee”) and the following policy governing the KCBA’s participation as amicus curiae (“Policy”).
- Composition. The Committee shall consist of regular or retired members of the KCBA who seek appointment to serve.. The Committee chair or acting chair shall be appointed by the KCBA President and shall serve until a replacement is appointed.
- Diversity. The Association shall take steps to ensure that the Committee reflects the diversity of the KCBA; including, but not restricted to, diversity in terms of areas of legal expertise among the Committee members.
- Quorum and Decision Making. The Committee may meet on as needed basis. Committee decisions shall be by a simple majority of members in attendance
B. AMICUS CURIAE POLICY
- Independence. The KCBA will take all reasonable steps to remain independent of the party litigants who request amicus curiae participation by the KCBA. Committee members should report conflicts of interest to the chair following the Rules of Professional Conduct, recusing themselves when necessary from the committee's deliberations.
- Authority. The Committee shall review all requests that the KCBA participate as amicus curiae, provide recommendations to the Board, and supervise preparation of all KCBA amicus briefs. The Committee shall also take steps, in collaboration with KCBA staff, to publicize this Policy to KCBA section and committee chairs and to the KCBA membership at large. The Board shall, however, retain ultimate authority to determine whether the KCBA files an amicus brief.
- Area of Substantial Interest to the KCBA. Absent a direct request from a court, before the KCBA may participate as amicus curiae, the Committee must conclude that the case concerns one or more issues of substantial interest to the KCBA and that the case: (a) concerns the independence or integrity of the judiciary or the bar; (b) concerns the effectiveness or accessibility of the legal system; (c) concerns the practice or business of law; or (d) otherwise promotes or furthers the basic mission, stated purposes, or policies of the KCBA.
- Necessity of Amicus Brief. The Committee will consider whether briefs already before the court provide the court with a complete picture of how the particular issue and decision will impact the interests of the KCBA as set forth in this Policy.
- Amicus Brief Standards. The Committee shall ensure that an amicus brief filed by the KCBA is of high quality, and, as necessary, shall seek the assistance of the Appellate Law Section to meet this obligation. The Committee may decline to recommend filing an amicus brief in cases where lack of time or other consideration may compromise the quality of the brief.
- Request from Appellate Court. Barring exceptional circumstances, the KCBA and the Committee will honor a request from an appellate court to submit an amicus brief.
- Trial Court. Barring exceptional circumstances, a request that the KCBA participate as amicus curiae at the trial court level will not be granted.
C. PROCEDURE FOR REQUESTING AMICUS BRIEF PARTICIPATION
- A request that the KCBA participate as amicus curiae must be by email to the Executive Director of the KCBA.
- The person or persons who request amicus curiae participation by the KCBA (“Requestor”) shall include the following information in the request:
- A statement that sets forth specific legal issue(s) that the KCBA should address;
- a survey of significant cases that address the issue(s);
- a statement explaining how the legal issue(s) relate to this Policy and to the KCBA’s mission and stated purposes; and
- whether time will be allowed for oral argument by the KCBA; and
- a list of all parties (including legal counsel/law firms) involved in the case.
- The Requestor shall provide copies of the underlying court decisions and all applicable briefing filed in the case prior to the time of the request and, if requested by the Committee, the record on review.
D. PROCEDURES GOVERNING THE FUNCTIONING OF THE COMMITTEE
- Notice. The Committee shall provide notice of the amicus curiae request to KCBA sections and committees that may be directly affected by the legal issue(s) addressed by the request by sending electronic or print copies of the request to the relevant section and committee chair(s). The Committee may also provide notice, to the extent practicable, to other KCBA sections and committees that may be affected by the legal issue(s) addressed by the request, other interested constituents, and the parties to the appeal prior to a final Committee recommendation. Such notice may be provided, for example, by posting information about the request on the KCBA website or through other KCBA channels for print and electronic communication. The notice will invite comment on the request and will specify a deadline for comments.
- Committee Action on a Request. The Committee shall act on a properly-presented request at the earliest feasible date. The Chair shall ensure that all members of the Committee are timely notified of the request and provided with appropriate materials to evaluate the request. The Committee is encouraged to consult with KCBA members or others with expertise in the subject matter of the issue(s) raised by the request, including, but not limited to, the relevant KCBA sections or committees. The Committee shall, however, retain the final authority to make a recommendation to the Board as to whether the KCBA should participate as amicus curiae. The Committee may meet via telephone and/or electronic conferencing and/or use email when necessary to expedite the decision-making process or for efficiency reasons. If the Committee declines to recommend that a brief be filed, no further action by the Committee or the Board is required.
- Content of Recommendation. Upon reaching a final decision to proceed with a brief, the Committee shall present, in writing, its recommendation to the Board (“Recommendation”). The Recommendation shall include:
The Recommendation may also include additional supporting documentation, including, but not limited to, excerpts of the request, relevant cases, legal analysis, and communications received in response to the Committee’s request for comments.
- a brief statement explaining the Committee’s recommendation;
- a brief analysis of the issue(s) raised by the request;
- a statement of costs associated with the KCBA’s participation as amicus curiae;
- suggestions, if appropriate, regarding individuals who should author and/or edit the amicus brief;
- whether such participation would be inconsistent with positions already adopted by the KCBA or are opposed by any KCBA section or committee; and
- whether the Committee believes that the KCBA should present oral argument and whether the requesting party will surrender oral argument time in order to allow the KCBA’s participation.
- Expedited Procedure. Where the issues raised in an appeal have substantial impact on the KCBA, and where there is not enough time for the Committee to make a recommendation to the Board in time for the Board to consider the recommendation at the Board’s next regularly-scheduled meeting, the Committee may ask the President to convene a Board meeting as allowed under the KCBA Bylaws for the Board to consider the Committee’s recommendation. Under no circumstances may the Committee make its recommendation prior to the expiration of the deadline for comments specified in Subsection D.1. Barring exceptional circumstances, the President shall honor the Committee’s request. Under this expedited procedure, in addition to the item listed in Subsection D.3 above, the Recommendation shall also address whether the Committee believes that there is sufficient time for the KCBA to prepare a quality amicus brief. In no event shall a request for participation be granted if the Board concludes that a quality amicus brief cannot be prepared in the amount of time available.
- Preparation and Signing of Amicus Brief. The Committee, in consultation with KCBA’s Appellate Law Section as necessary, will oversee and assist with the preparation and filing of the amicus brief. Any amicus brief submitted to a court shall be signed at least by the President (or his or her designee) in his or her official capacity and may be signed by the author. The Committee will provide a copy of the amicus brief as filed to the Board. The Committee will also take steps to make a copy of the filed amicus brief publically available through the KCBA website or through other KCBA electronic channels for distribution to the KCBA membership.
This Policy replaces and supersedes all previously adopted KCBA Amicus Policies. Approved by the Board of Trustees March 15, 2017.