Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates
Protecting the Legal and Civil Rights of Students with Disabilities
Policy for Amicus Requests
(Please use the form at the bottom of this page to submit a request)
COPAA Amicus activities are steered by our volunteer-based committee comprised of extremely experienced attorneys knowledgeable about special education law. Current Chairs are COPAA Board Members Alexis Casillas, Esq. and Catherine Merino Reisman, Esq.
The COPAA Amicus Committee will consider two types of requests: Litigation Technical Assistance or Amicus Participation.
Requests for Technical Assistance.
Attorneys may seek technical assistance with respect to the handling of litigation, while not necessarily seeking amicus participation from the organization. In the past, the Amicus Committee has convened conference calls to assist members or practitioners with a particularly complicated procedural issue on appeal or to provide input as to the advisability and/or viability of an appeal of a judicial or administrative decision.
Requests for Amicus Participation.
A. With respects to requests for Amicus Participation, the Committee will consider whether:The issue(s) presented for consideration must be consistent with the COPAA mission statement. The issue presented to the court for a decision has a precedent setting value and the decision of the court will materially affect the educational welfare of school age children with disabilities and/or the substantive or procedural due process rights of their parents.With regard to the subject matter of a request, a sufficient number of COPAA members who have expertise in the subject matter of the request are available.The filing of the brief would have a reasonable likelihood of having a persuasive impact on the decision that the court will reach.There are sufficient Committee resources to review the request.
For Amicus Participation:
(1) The requesting organization or individual must provide the COPAA Amicus Committee with the following information, in writing:
(2) The requesting organization or individual must also provide to the Committee an electronic copy of:
(3) In some instances, the committee may ask the requesting organization to make a brief presentation during a scheduled Amicus Committee conference call.
(4) The requesting organization or individual must make all requests for COPAA assistance 60 days prior to the date that the amicus brief is due.
(5) In those instances in which a request for COPAA participation or to write an amicus brief arises from an emergency or other time critical situation, the COPAA Amicus Committee, in its sole discretion, will consider a shorter time period.
II. Committee Project Management
A. If a majority of the Committee members (or, if time does not permit, the Committee Chair or Co-Chairs) determine that the issue(s) presented by the requesting organization is one in which COPAA should participate as amicus, the Committee will inform the organization that COPAA will provide amicus support.
B. In the event the Executive Committee approves the request, the Amicus Committee Chair or Co-Chairs shall seek assistance from the requesting party and other Committee members to locate pro bono counsel admitted in the relevant Court. It is responsible of pro bono counsel to
C. The Committee shall provide a draft of the brief to the Executive Committee for approval prior to filing the brief on behalf of COPAA.
D. The Committee co-chairs shall assign:
E. Coordination with the requesting organization and other participating organizations.
In the event a disagreement arises that cannot be reasonably resolved by the committee members with regard to the substance of the legal argument and/or the statement of interest of amicus, the co-chair(s) will ask the Executive Committee to appoint at least one attorney member of COPAA to be the final reviewer.
All requests for either Technical Assistance or Amicus Participation must be made by e-mailing Committee Chairpersons using this form. Be sure to attach all requested information as outlined above, and be sure that the request to COPAA is made at least 60 days prior to the date that an amicus brief is due.
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