The National Legal Foundation proudly notes a great achievement by our friend and frequent collaborator, Frederick (Rick) W. Claybrook, Jr. In a recent study of amicus briefs filed at the Supreme Court of the United States during the most recent Term, Rick’s briefs were highly rated in multiple categories. The National Legal Foundation was one of the amici on each of Rick’s briefs, and our attorneys served as co-counsel on one of the briefs.
The study was conducted by SCOTUSblog, the premier law blog written by lawyers, law professors, and law students about the Supreme Court of the United States. Using the highly touted BriefCatch software, the 800+ amicus briefs were scored on Flow (frequency and variation of transitions), Plain English (avoidance of legalese), Punchiness (frequency of one syllable words), Reading Happiness (use of active voice and short paragraphs), and Sentence Length. The SCOTUSblog study stated that Rick’s amicus brief in the NIFLA v. Beccerra case was the ninth best amicus brief filed in 2017, and that Rick’s average score for writers of multiple briefs was the third best score in 2017. Rick’s firm, Claybrook LLC, achieved the second highest score of all firms filing multiple briefs.
With over 800 amicus briefs on the merits filed every year in cases before the Supreme Court, it is often difficult to gain the attention of the justices or their clerks. Some institutions, like the Office of the U.S. Solicitor General, enjoy institutional prestige and will have their briefs read. Without this institutional prestige, other organizations filing amicus briefs rely upon good writing. As the author of the SCOTUSblog study noted, “High-quality writing remains one of the best ways for groups to get the court’s attention.”
In addition to the National Legal Foundation itself, Rick and the NLF also represented the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, the Pacific Justice Institute, the National Association of Evangelicals, Concerned Women for America, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Samaritan’s Purse. According to the logic of the SCOTUSblog study, these organizations enjoyed greater attention to their positions on issues because of Rick’s recognized good writing.
The study also ranked repeat amici, based on the first-named amicus on each brief. We believe that had the NLF always been the first-named amicus on each of the briefs we would have been ranked number one, since our average score would then have been the same as Rick’s average score; and that score was significantly higher than the scores of the other repeat amici noted in the study.
Rick’s great briefs on behalf of the NLF and others continue the NLF’s long history of filing influential amicus briefs, which have often been cited and quoted with by the courts with which they have been filed.
Congratulations to Rick and Claybrook LLC!