Utah’s solicitor general earns top scores for legal writing

There were nearly 900 amicus briefs submitted to the Supreme Court during 2017. Out of all of those, the one with the best writing came from Utah Solicitor General Tyler Green.

The Empirical SCOTUS blog used the BriefCatch analytical tool to analyze every single amicus brief submitted in 2017 to measure five categories of legal writing. Green’s brief in Lucia v. SEC scored the highest in the analysis. Green’s brief in D.C. v. Wesby also ranked among the top briefs for legal writing.

Author Dr. Adam Feldman explains why good writing is so important, especially in amicus briefs:

In an era where some scholars question whether oral arguments have very much utility, briefs, and especially amicus briefs, are thought to play a unique role in Supreme Court decision making.  The Court receives briefs in large numbers, with amicus briefs leading the way.  Cases with broad national repercussions may garner 100 amicus briefs or more (one example of a case with over 100 such briefs is Obergefell v. Hodges).  With so many filings, the justices tend not to read each brief and may instead delegate the bulk of this task to their clerks.


Groups filing amicus briefs have several ways to capture the attention of clerks and justices. Certain groups with already established credibility like the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) are known to impact the Court’s opinions with their amicus briefs.  Others that lack this institutional standing must seek out alternative means to persuade justices and clerks to read their writings.


Studies suggest that aspects of brief writing can positively impact the evaluation of briefs.  Even though there are several off-the-shelf metrics for writing quality, few if any have been successfully employed by a large number of legal writers.