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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Discussing the Vanishing Civil Trial

Thanks to Howard for letting me linger here a few extra days. I wanted to close with a plug for a terrific new article in Judicature by U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby, entitled Imagined Conversations: The Decline in Federal Civil Trials. The steady drop in the federal civil trial rate since the 1960s is well-known, but Judge Hornby offers a concise and fresh take on the topic by envisioning a no-holds-barred conversation between old law school classmates who now occupy a variety of senior legal positions, from judges to trial counsel to corporate general counsel. 

The article is a great read: short, entertaining, and fast-moving. It will be required reading for my civil procedure students.  Most importantly, it keenly and respectfully identifies the many interrelated factors have contributed to the drop in civil trials over the past several decades. It should provoke useful discussions between unabashed proponents of civil trials (like myself) and those who are more agnostic.

Relatedly, I was thrilled to see that the same issue of Judicature features a compelling plea from John Rabiej to open federal PACER records for academic research without the need for district-by-district waivers.

Both pieces are well worth your time.  To shamelessly borrow a phrase from Larry Solum, download them while they’re hot!

Posted by Jordan Singer on February 4, 2016 at 03:29 PM in Article Spotlight, Civil Procedure | Permalink

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