About the Amicus Brief Database

Created by NASW Legal Defense Fund as an exclusive online reference tool for NASW members and staff,  the Amicus Brief Database is a rich storehouse of legal information on a wide variety of policy and practice issues of concern to social workers and their clients.

Amicus Brief Database contains downloadable copies of almost 300 amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs filed by NASW or on behalf of NASW for the past three decades. Friend of the court briefs are accepted by courts as an aid to understanding aspects of issues that may not be fully addressed by the parties to the litigation, or where specialized knowledge may be helpful in reaching a conclusion in high profile cases. The goal of NASW and the Legal Defense Fund has been to ensure that a social work perspective

There are several different ways in which the Legal Defense Fund and NASW may decide to file amicus briefs. In cases addressing issues of significance to the social work profession, the Legal Defense Fund supports the preparation of friend of the court briefs filed on behalf of the national Association and the NASW Chapter in which the case is originally filed. In those cases, NASW takes the lead in filing a brief with a unique social work perspective presented to the Court. 

At other times, in cases involving social justice or social policy issues of importance to the Association, NASW may act in coalition with like-minded organizations that jointly file an amicus brief or NASW may take the lead in filing a brief. In some cases, the NASW Legal Defense Fund Board will approve funding for an amicus brief according to established LDF criteria. In other cases, pro bono counsel provides legal support for the preparation of a brief.

All of these efforts combine to provide a rich body of advocacy on behalf of the social work profession, the constituent populations assisted by the profession, and the social policy issues that energize the work of the profession. The briefs are presented to assist the work of those who are interested in the development of legal theory and social policy, for research purposes, and for other advocates seeking resource material for legal, legislative, and regulatory support.