By John Maley
The practice of law has continued to migrate from law firm libraries to online research on laptops, iPads and tablets, yet there remains a place for comprehensive, in-depth and practical treatises and practice guides. Since 1998, “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 multi-volume printed set. The series is unique in that it is a collaborative effort between Thomson Reuters and the ABA’s Section of Litigation, with all proceeds going to that section.
The first edition 20 years ago had six comprehensive volumes, expanded to eight volumes in the second edition. The third edition grew to 11 volumes, and the new fourth edition adds 25 new chapters for a total 153 chapters. Under the guidance of New York litigator and editor-in-chief Robert Haig, 296 different distinguished authors — including 27 federal judges — contributed.
Although there remain other treatises addressing federal civil practice, none are written specifically for commercial litigation. Moreover, no other book gives integrated 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. On the procedural front, for instance, topics addressed include 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, including antitrust, securities, banking, consumer, employment, copyright, franchising, entertainment, environmental, energy, construction, patent, trademark, products and false claims.
For the experienced litigator, the treatise is 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.
As is evident from this fourth edition and the strength and depth of the organizations and authors involved, this was not a “one-and-done” effort. Instead, the treatise continues to be 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 less than $1,500 from Thomson Reuters.•
• John Maley — firstname.lastname@example.org — is a partner with Barnes & Thornburg LLP in Indianapolis, focusing on litigation, employment and appellate practice. Opinions expressed are those of the author.