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Like other brief writers, the amicus brief’s writer must heed the court’s rules of practice and procedure, including rules that prescribe a brief’s maximum page length. But a brief writer can meet the court’s circumstances and expectations without going to the max. A few months before he ascended to the Supreme Court bench in 1943, D.C. Circuit Judge Wiley B. Rutledge advised advocates to strike a balance by being “as brief as one can be consistent with adequate and clear presentation of his case."

An amicus’ prudent approach to concise brief writing is to adapt the advice delivered by opera singer Dorothy Sarnoff for success on the stage: “Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening.” As they provide the court relevant new matter, amici should strive to make sure that they have finished writing before their judicial readers have finished reading.



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