This is not only a law book that is valuable as a research tool and a source of legal knowledge and citations, it is an idea book filled with nuggets of wisdom and perspective that could only have been gained by years of experience in handling cases from the most simple to the most complex.” So states Robert L. Haig, editor-in-chief, in his foreword to Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, Fourth Edition. Proof of that comes in many forms.
Indeed, this book is a unique combination of a substantive research treatise and a practical training and professional development guide. With law firm library budgets dwindling, Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts can easily cover a multitude of needs.
It offers answers to substantive legal questions and provides options and strategies for brainstorming new approaches to business and commercial litigation. It provides summaries and overviews for a refresher course or update, yet digs into the details to address precise issues and nuances. Simultaneously, it supplies a variety of practical tips useful to each experience level on the trial team.
Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts is now in its fourth edition with its initial contribution to the field over 20 years ago. The federal litigation bar received the original version well, but each subsequent edition has successively made the publication better, more thorough, and more helpful. It has done so much more than sprinkle in more recent case cites. The universe of business and commercial litigation is varied and complex. Through its 15 volumes, Haig and his hundreds of colleagues have kept pace to provide an authoritative source for all federal court business litigators.
The treatise has always been expansive, with the latest version including 153 chapters. The expected federal law topics remain covered . . . and covered well. Federal jurisdiction, venue, and removal; class actions, multidistrict litigation, and coordination of state and federal proceedings; international and cross-border disputes; every conceivable aspect of discovery; pretrial, trial, and post-trial motions of every sort; sanctions and remedies; enforcement of judgments and appeals; ethics and civility; consumer protection statutes; securities, mergers, and acquisitions; ERISA, employment discrimination, and labor law; and intellectual property, antitrust, and other competition law. If there is a federal law that can be litigated in the business and commercial context, it is probably covered in this text.
This fourth edition’s newest topics are also needed additions as the law in those areas has developed. It includes 17 entirely new chapters on substantive law. Civil justice reform, cross-border litigation, declaratory judgments, securitization and structured finance, regulatory litigation, health care institutions, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, mass torts, aviation, joint ventures, fiduciary duty litigation, media and publishing, fraud, international trade, civil rights, public utilities, and fashion and retail are all new.
It would be unfair to criticize the prior editions for being limited predominantly to substantive federal law. However, the eight new chapters on skills and the practical aspects of a litigation practice are a very welcome addition. Those chapters cover effective trial performance, negotiations, mediation, arbitration, social media, marketing to potential business clients, and teaching litigation skills. This increased breadth opens the treatise up to an even wider audience and offers significant new value.
Moreover, there can be little doubt about the work’s credibility. In addition to seasoned practitioners, over 25 federal district court and courts of appeals jurists lend immediate bona fides as authors of suggested strategies, considerations, and guidance.
Practical, Practical, Practical
As the number of actual trials continues to decline, many aspects of the treatise also serve as a guide to counsel who are still learning the ropes, those who may be a little rusty on the finer points of trial advocacy, and even those who may be brave enough to admit that the art of persuasion has changed over the years. An initial example here is once again the topics that receive direct and thorough treatment.
A total of 11 chapters focus exclusively on trial procedures, techniques, and strategies. The tips and examples for opening statements, jury selection, witness examinations, demonstrative exhibits, and closing arguments are a must read for litigators of all experience levels. The ownership, discovery, admissibility, and ethics surrounding social media posts focus on a still developing area of law that will be critical evidence in most cases.
The treatise is user-friendly in many ways. It matters not how you prefer to approach your research. There are full-length treatments to gain a thorough understanding of a topic’s big picture. Checklists, forms, and sample documents are then located at the end of each chapter.
For those needing a quicker means to attack a specific question, a table of statutes and rules appears at the end of the treatise. The table permits easy access to precise points of law and supporting authorities. The reader can scroll through the index’s list of rules and statutes to quickly identify where the text explains those provisions.
These make the usefulness and reliability of the summaries, explanations, and current status of a wide variety of substantive law a given. But the reader also will find throughout the volumes strategies, procedural and pleading requirements, elements of claims, and sample jury instructions (contained on an accompanying DVD).
The 15-volume set will certainly fill a shelf on your bookcase, but well it should. From procedure to law, from strategy to practice skills, this is the treatise for federal business and commercial litigators.
Jeffrey R. Teeters is an editor for Litigation News.
The treatise is available for purchase online through Thomson Reuters. Section of Litigation members can use the offer code 25BUSCOM to receive a 25% discount for the print edition. A digital version of the treatise is also available on Westlaw with a subscription.
Copyright © 2019, American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association, the Section of Litigation, this committee, or the employer(s) of the author(s).