The Atlantic Legal Foundation has been advocating for and defending individual liberty, free enterprise, property rights, limited and efficient government, sound science in judicial and regulatory proceedings, and school choice for more than 45 years.
Established in 1977, the Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public interest law firm with a storied history of legal advocacy, primarily as amicus curiae, in the Supreme Court of the United States, federal courts of appeals, and state appellate courts.
Atlantic Legal Foundation is overseen by a Board of Directors composed of corporate executives, partners of major law firms, and current and retired corporate chief legal officers. In conjunction with the Foundation’s President and its Executive Vice President & General Counsel, the Board approves the cases in which Atlantic Legal will participate as amicus curiae. The Foundation also has an Advisory Council, which consists of attorneys, scientists, medical doctors, and educators.
Areas of Advocacy
Atlantic Legal Foundation’s cases come to it in a variety of ways, often through requests from prominent law firms to provide amicus support in appeals that they are handling. Consistent with its mission, the Foundation’s advocacy efforts focus on a variety of substantive areas that fall into one or more of the following categories:
Sound Science and the Law
The Foundation is the nation’s preeminent public interest law firm advocating for the use of sound science in judicial and regulatory proceedings. This includes opposing “junk” science and fostering admissibility of and reliance on sound medical and other expert scientific testimony in toxic tort, product liability, and other litigation involving scientific matters. Over the past four 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. The Foundation submitted amicus briefs 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. In Daubert, the Court quoted the Foundation’s brief on the meaning of “scientific . . . knowledge” as used in Federal Rule of Evidence 702.
The Foundation is a leader among public interest law firms and associations 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 and updating 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 occasionally provides legal counsel to and represents charter schools and charter school advocates, always on a pro bono basis.
Issues Affecting the Business Community
The Foundation advocates for class-action and mass-action fairness for corporate defendants and robust application of the attorney-client privilege and work-product doctrine, including for in-house counsel. It challenges intrusive federal, state, and local regulation of business, and promotes responsible corporate governance.
The Foundation has addressed a wide variety of civil justice issues that implicate due process, individual and corporate free speech and freedom to associate, separation of powers, justiciability, federal supremacy over state and local law, just compensation for governmental taking of property, and the interplay between U.S. and international law.
Position Papers and Conferences
The Foundation publishes papers and advocates on a variety of legal issues of public concern. These include, for example, the scientific and legal implications of electro-magnetic field transmissions; the erosion of the attorney-client privilege and word-product doctrine; the cost-effective management of litigation; inadequate judicial compensation and its impact on the New York and California economies; the need for restructuring 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, the Foundation has published, and currently is undertaking the updating of, 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, such as “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.”
Access our Annual Reports
Our mission is the result of the cooperative effort of a diverse group of people, including our Board of Directors, our Advisory Council, and our Executive Leadership team. Learn more about Atlantic Legal’s work over the years by reading our annual reports, available on our website.