This week, we’re continuing our deep dive into the data on amicus briefs, looking at two questions.  First, given that Illinois only ranks midway through the list of states on the frequency of amicus briefs, what areas of law, civil and criminal, are generating amici?  And second, for those areas of law, are most amicus briefs offensive – i.e., attacking an adverse decision from the Appellate Court – or defensive, defending the Appellate Court decision?  This week, we’re reviewing the data for the years 2000 through 2009.

For the decade of the 1990s, the top area of law by a wide margin on the civil side was tort, followed by civil procedure, constitutional law, government and administrative law and insurance law.  For our second decade, tort once again led by a wide margin with 31 cases drawing at least one extra brief.  This time, government and administrative law was second with 16 cases.  Civil procedure ranked third with a dozen cases, followed by insurance law with 11.  After that, we have constitutional law 9 cases, domestic relations 5, workers compensation, tax and employment law 4 apiece, arbitration law 2 cases and elections law 1 case.

A total of 72 amicus briefs were filed in tort cases, a majority of them offensive – 45 favoring appellants and 27 for appellees.  Government and administrative law was the same – 19 briefs for appellants, only 10 favoring appellees.  Nearly three times as many amicus briefs were offensive in civil procedure cases – 17 for appellants, only 6 for appell0ees.  Interestingly, most insurance briefs were defensive – 13 favoring appellees, only 8 for appellants.  In constitutional law, there were 10 briefs for appellants and 7 for appellees.

Join us back here next time as we review the data on the criminal side (it’ll be quick – there weren’t many in this decade).

Image courtesy of Flickr by 350543 (no changes).