About Atlantic Legal Foundation
Atlantic Legal Foundation has been defending liberty for 40 years since its establishment in 1977.
Atlantic Legal Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest law firm with a history of advocating for individual liberty, free enterprise, property rights, limited and efficient government, sound science in the courtroom, and school choice. Atlantic Legal provides legal representation, without fee, to individuals, corporations, trade associations, parents, scientists and educators.
Atlantic Legal is overseen by a Board of Directors composed of corporate executives, partners of major law firms, and current and retired corporate chief legal officers. The Board reviews and decides upon which cases Atlantic Legal will participate. The Foundation also has an Advisory Council, which consists of attorneys, scientists, medical doctors, and educators.
The Foundation frequently files amicus curiae briefs in high-profile court cases before the United States Supreme Court, federal circuit courts of appeal, and state supreme courts. Atlantic Legal’s cases come to it in a variety of ways, often through requests from prominent law firms to file an amicus brief in one of their cases. The Foundation’s efforts have focused on a number of substantive areas of the law.
Areas of Advocacy
Atlantic Legal Foundation participates in important cases involving the expansive and capricious exercise of governmental power, as well as the interplay between U.S. law and international law. Among the issues we have addressed – challenging state and local attempts to regulate interstate and foreign commerce, combating limits on free speech on college campuses, opposing expansive assertions of U.S. court jurisdiction over foreign entities and transactions, such as DaimlerChrysler AG v. Bauman, and ensuring the proper balance between federal, state and local jurisdiction.
Sound Science and the Law
Atlantic Legal is the nation’s preeminent public interest law firm advocating for the admissibility of sound medical and expert testimony in toxic tort, product liability, and other litigation. Atlantic Legal fights the admissibility of “junk” science, and fosters the use of sound science principles in judicial and regulatory proceedings. Over the past two decades the Foundation has represented almost two dozen Nobel laureates and numerous other prominent scientists in cases involving the admissibility of expert evidence and proof of causation. Our amicus briefs were cited and relied on by the majority in the landmark Daubert trilogy of U. S. Supreme Court cases — Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., General Electric Co. v. Joiner and Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael.
Issues Affecting the Business Community
Atlantic Legal advocates for responsible corporate governance and advocates against intrusive regulation of business. The Foundation was an early proponent of preservation of the attorney-client privilege against compulsory waiver of that essential protection where corporate misconduct has been asserted. It has challenged abuse of class action procedures in cases such as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, and has strongly advocated for the enforcement of arbitration agreements in cases such as America Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant.
The Foundation has been a leader among public interest law firms in promoting school choice through the legal system. Atlantic Legal’s work in this area is focused on supporting charter schools. A major part of this effort is publishing a series of state law guides, written by nationally known labor law attorneys, to educate charter school leaders about what they need to know to deal with efforts by public employee unions to burden charter schools with intrusive union work rules that stifle innovation. The Foundation also provides legal counsel to and represents charter schools and charter school advocates pro bono.
Position Papers and Conferences
Atlantic Legal publishes papers on legal issues of public concern. For example, inadequate judicial compensation and its impact on the New York economy, the need for a restructuring of New York’s court system, correcting weaknesses in law school curricula, and the need for and benefits of parental choice in K through 12 education. Of note, we have published a series of state-specific guides for charter school leaders entitled “Leveling the Playing Field: What charter school leaders can do when the union calls.” The Foundation sponsors conferences on topics of importance to the business and legal communities, including: “Science and Public Policy Implications of the Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields”; “The Attorney-Client Privilege — Erosion, Ethics, Problems, and Solutions”; and “Corporate Litigation — How to Reduce Corporate Litigation Costs and Still Win Your Case.”