Rex Heinke Quoted by Law360 on SCOTUS Warning Re: Wordy Petitions

Akin Gump Supreme Court and appellate practice co-head Rex Heinke was quoted by Law360 for its article “Justices' Foley Warning Shows Attys Must Rein In Clients,” which discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to sanction an attorney who filed a jargon-filled petition drafted, in part, by a client. The high court, instead, issued a notice reminding lawyers that they must comply with Supreme Court Rule 14.3, which states, in part, that a “petition for a writ of certiorari should be stated briefly and in plain terms.”  The Court’s notice stated that lawyers “as Officers of the Court…may not delegate that responsibility to the client.”

Heinke said that the Court’s warning is an indication that such filings may result in sanctions: “The message from the Supreme Court is loud and clear: You may not have a client write the brief. The lawyer has a professional obligation to the court and must fulfill that obligation. You cannot simply become a mailbox for the client.”

He added that it is very unusual to have a client write a Supreme Court brief, much less one as dense as was filed in this case: “This is a brief that was extremely difficult to understand, and it seems like that's what triggered the Supreme Court's interest.”