Amicus Briefs

amicusAnother vital aspect of appellate practice is the amicus curiae brief. An amicus curiae brief (or “friend-of-the-court” brief) is filed with the appellate court by an entity that is not a party to the lawsuit. It is a vehicle to educate the appellate court about the real-world consequences of an adverse disposition. Amicus briefs are usually filed by corporations, industry-specific organizations, and other advocacy groups with a particularized interest in the outcome of an appeal. This interest typically arises when an appellate court is poised to consider a novel issue that will affect the bottom-line of an industry or influence public policy. Because of the precedential effect of the anticipated opinion, it behooves the interested party to voice its concerns in an amicus curiae brief.

Lara has experience crafting effective amicus curiae briefs. Most recently, Lara was called on to draft an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court. The case, Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., involved a copyright dispute involving the Raging Bull film. The case presented a civil procedure question with real-world implications: Does the equitable doctrine of laches serve to cut off the Copyright Act’s statute of limitations because of undue delay in filing a lawsuit? Lara briefed the issue, providing the Court with historical and policy perspectives necessary to frame the issue for a modern understanding of the centuries-old doctrine. The Supreme Court held that laches cannot be invoked to knock out timely copyright claims.

Lara can be reached at (310) 975-8513 or at

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