By John R. Maley
As the practice has moved from law-firm libraries to online research on laptops and iPads, there remains a place for comprehensive, in-depth and practical treatises and practice guides. Since 1998, Westlaw’s Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts has been just such a valuable resource, and it continues to include electronic materials on a CD that contains jury instructions, forms and checklists that are in the 11-volume printed set. The series is unique in that it is a collaborative effort between Westlaw and the ABA’s Section of Litigation, with all proceeds going to that section.
The first edition in 1998 had six comprehensive volumes, expanded to eight volumes in the second edition in 2005. The new third edition has grown to eleven volumes with 34 new chapters. Under the guidance of New York litigator Robert Haig, 251 different distinguished authors – including 22
distinguished federal judges from the appellate and District courts – contributed to the series. One of the authors remains Indiana’s own Hon. William C. Lee, who penned the chapter on scheduling and pretrial conferences and orders.
Although there are other treatises addressing federal civil practice, none are written specifically for commercial litigation. Moreover, no other book gives integra
ted treatment to procedural and substantive law in areas frequently encountered by federal commercial litigators. Furthermore, the authors address practical perspectives and tips for plaintiff and defense alike for all stages of litigation, including trial.
For the young practitioner, the treatise is a tremendous starting point for virtually any procedural and substantive issue that crosses the desk. On the procedural front, for instance, topics addressed range from subject matter jurisdiction, personal jurisdiction, venue, immunity, investigation, case evaluation, pleadings, discovery, motions practice, trial, appeals, and enforcement of judgments. Meanwhile, on the substantive front, the coverage is broad but in-depth, ranging from antitrust, securities, banking, consumer, employment, copyright, franchising, entertainment, environmental, energy, construction, patent, trademark, products, and false claims.
For the experienced litigator, the treatise is both a good refresher and ready-reference, as well as a fine starting point for supporting authority and research given the detailed footnotes with multiple citations (actually more than 40,000 cites).
As is evident from this third edition and the strength and depth of the organizations and authors involved, this was not a “one and done” effort. Instead, the treatise has been supplemented with pocket parts annually since its initial publication, so it stays current with changes in statutory amendments, rule changes, evolving case law, and evolutions in federal practice.
For lawyers or firms with federal commercial litigation practices, this series is worth serious consideration. The eleven volumes and CD sell for $1,351 from Westlaw.•
John Maley – email@example.com – is a partner with Barnes & Thornburg LLP in Indianapolis, focusing on litigation, employment, and appellate practice. The opinions expressed are those of the author.