The “Comic” Element in Legal Briefs

Sample page of the amicus curiae
brief in the form of a cartoon 

Here is something that I have never seen or heard of before: an amicus curiae brief in the form of a cartoon that was submitted in connection with an Apple antitrust case. I found out about it at Legal BlogWatch where Bruce Carton described who created it and why. The attorneys wanted the court to pay attention to their document, and I’ve gotta say that they’ve succeeded not only in getting the court’s attention, but a lot more publicity than they ever would’ve gotten by just following the usual procedures.

I often joke that when I work with law firms, what they consider a legal brief is actually not brief at all; they can choke a camel with it because it’s so big. Amicus curiae briefs are usually not that long, but sometimes attorneys create a document that is more massive than is necessary, something that the court might not take the time to analyze.

The attorneys who decided to add a cartoon to their brief in the Apple case are creative and innovative because they took a document that’s considered mundane and even boring, and got a lot of attention for it.

I just wonder if we’re going to see copycats from now on. But it just goes to show that boring documents don’t have to lead to boring communication plans. I’m sure you can take a paper clip and make it famous by just doing something really unique and different.