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Friday, June 10, 2011

Unanticipated Side Benefits of Pro Bono Amicus Work

 First, it has opened my eyes to the realities of cases I had been writing about from a bird’s eye view and made me more passionate without sacrificing objectivity. Second, it has made me more organized and productive on all fronts, including the scholarship front. Third, it has allowed me to network with a wider array of people within and outside of the academy. Fourth, it has helped me see that bridges should be built between the cultural property restitution field and other fields, such as international human rights. Fifth, my students seem to like that I can still “walk the walk.” Finally, while all work and no play has no doubt made me a boring person, but people tend to think the work is interesting so I get to spread awareness about the issue via invited lectures and cocktail conversation. People seem legitimately interested (or perhaps are infinitely polite).


Posted by Jen Kreder on June 10, 2011 at 11:23 AM | Permalink


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Good for you, Jarod!

Posted by: Jen Kreder | Jun 12, 2011 12:31:36 PM

Jen, Congratulations on filing the two briefs today. Having filed a lot of briefs (trial and appellate) in my career, I know the feeling of exhaustion near the end of the process and the relief after the briefs are filed. I don't think I have ever filed two major briefs in one day, so hats off to you.

My pro bono work hits a lot of topics, and sometimes it is just the result of an opportunity coming up that looks like it would be interesting. I am an academic trapped in a litigator's office, so I often use pro bono as a way to explore a new or interesting area of law from a more policy-oriented perspective. Topics have ranged from first amendment to habeas to constitutional issues surrounding administrative searches. Lately, I have been working with a group called the Institute for Justice on economic liberty issues.

Outside of pro bono, my focus is mostly competition law, with some appellate and commercial litigation mixed in.

Posted by: Jarod Bona | Jun 10, 2011 2:25:22 PM

Absolutely! Thanks for reminding me! I'm getting two out the door today (one in D. Ct. and the other in SCOTUS). Occasionally in the process I lose sight of the fact that I really enjoy being able to cherry pick the most important issues and focus just on those. Why kind of pro bono work do you do, Jarod?

Posted by: Jen | Jun 10, 2011 1:49:38 PM

I have written several pro bono amicus briefs, and want to add another benefit: They are a lot of fun! I am a practicing attorney (with academic leanings), and I enjoy amicus briefs because they provide an opportunity for freedom of writing and argument that you don't have when you are writing a party brief. While the circumstances vary, you can typically write about whatever you want, so long as it will be useful and persuasive to the court. You can focus entirely on policy and you don't have to address every issue on appeal. If it fits your client's goals, you can take up a narrow but important issue and focus entirely on that.

Posted by: Jarod Bona | Jun 10, 2011 1:39:57 PM

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