Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

November 21, 2013
Southwestern's Amicus Project Files First Official Brief

Professors Michael Epstein and Robert Lind submitted the brief, which practicum student Orly Ravid researched and wrote for a case in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

In October, the Amicus Project at Southwestern filed its inaugural pro bono amicus brief in the 9th Circuit. This amicus curiae brief supports the National Conference of Personal Managers (NCOPM) in its federal appeal challenging the constitutionality of the California Talent Agencies Act.

Filed pro bono by Southwestern Professors Robert Lind and Michael Epstein, the amicus brief claims that "for decades the California Talent Agencies Act and the California Labor Commissioner have unfairly singled out personal managers and deprived them of their constitutional rights." The brief was researched and written by Orly Ravid, a student in the Amicus Project Practicum at Southwestern, under the supervision of the professors.

"In this case, the Amicus Project represented the Talent Managers Association and the Music Managers Forum-U.S. and others," said Professor Epstein, who established the Amicus Project at Southwestern this semester. "The principal credit for the brief really goes out to Amicus Project Practicum student Orly Ravid, who did a superb, professional job."

NCOPM filed a lawsuit in 2012 that claimed the state's Talent Agencies Act violates the U.S. Constitution. It named California Gov. Jerry Brown, Labor Commissioner Julie Su, and Attorney General Kamala Harris as the defendants. The suit was dismissed in March by the U.S. District Court Judge Dean D. Pregerson. NCOPM filed a notice of appeal in April and their appeal brief in early October.

Ravid, a second-year SCALE student, spent 14 years working in the film industry before she entered law school. "It was useful to have a basic working knowledge of the entertainment industry and the roles agents, managers and lawyers may play," she said. Professor Epstein agreed. "Orly is an accomplished and talented self-starter. She was perfectly suited for the academic rigor and professional commitment of the Amicus Project."

Professor Epstein and Ravid's brief supervisor, Professor Lind, guided her and gave her feedback throughout the process. "Writing for a high court is exceptionally exciting," Ravid said. "It's a rare opportunity for any attorney, let alone a student."

The Amicus Project at Southwestern is a first-of-its-kind professional outreach program, enabling law students to gain practical experience by preparing amicus - or "friend of the court" - briefs on a pro bono basis for cases in which one is needed. Case selection is based on a variety of considerations, including legal significance, social significance, inquiry by an interested party (including students), jurisdiction, service to the profession, as well as faculty interest and expertise.

This is the first of three briefs being filed for the Amicus Project this semester. Other students participating in the practicum are Matt Graham (Full-time Day Program) and Drew Pruitt (SCALE Program). Pruitt and Ravid are collaborating on another brief for the U.S. Supreme Court.