The Copyright Amicus Legal Clinic integrates research, analytical and writing skills, and strategic and collaborative decision making in the context of drafting amicus briefs on current copyright issues. Potential cases will be selected on the basis of the projected appellate schedule and the existence of discrete and important issues. A preference, if possible, will be given to supporting a party who may be unrepresented or under- represented and where an amicus brief will advance consideration of of an issue of public concern. Consideration also will be given to cases where there may be few other amicus briefs and where an amicus brief can make a material contribution to the Court’s decision- making process. The briefs generally will be filed on behalf of trade associations, copyright related organizations, bar associations, or law professors.
Students will work in teams of two or three under the instructor’s supervision, with each team working intensively on a single brief while also contributing constructively to the other teams’ work product. The clinic and students involved will be credited for their contributions to the extent permitted by court rule. Students will be expected to spend an average of 14 hours per week on clinic work to include: a mandatory two hour seminar class (covering substantive law teaching, skills training, and case rounds) and approximately 12 hours per week devoted to research, drafting, revising, editing, cite checking, and complying with the procedural prerequisites to filing. There will be scheduled supervision meetings with the instructor and each team and the instructor will be available for informal office meetings or email communications between class sessions. Each member of the team will be involved in every phase of the process. The goal is for the students to be the authors of high quality briefs that will be accepted for filing in court. Four units of credit will be provided.
The class schedule will provide for the opportunity for students to understand and internalize the role of amicus counsel and the skills required to produce an effective, persuasive, and useful amicus brief. The seminar will also serve as an advanced course in copyright law, with emphasis on the interactions between legal doctrine and legal practice. Over the course of the semester, students can expect to prepare multiple revisions of the briefs based on feedback from the instructor, class discussion, and case rounds. The class schedule will be designed for briefs to be completed and filed by the end of the semester. However, that may not always be feasible given the difficulty in predicting appeal schedules, and the possibility of extensions to file briefs on the merits which necessarily will affect the schedule for filing amicus briefs. In some cases, briefs cannot be filed until after the semester is completed. In that event, students will not be required to be involved in the process necessary to finalize and file the briefs but may choose voluntarily to participate.