LAW 454

Civil Procedure in Practice – Problems and Reforms

Trial Advocacy

This course will look at civil procedure through the eyes of a judge.  Do federal and state rules of civil procedure as they exist serve the goals of the litigation process?  Or do they retard dispute resolution through the public justice system?  We will begin with an exploration of the fundamental goals of civil litigation, the motivations of participants in the civil litigation process and whether those motivations tend to further the fundamental goals.  Then we will consider what the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (and state rules modeled on them) were designed to achieve.  Significant aspects of the current civil litigation process – expense, large numbers of self-represented litigants, the growth of the “private justice” economy, the vanishing jury trial – suggest that the rules of procedure are not operating as they originally were intended to operate.  The course will consider procedural reform movements such as limitations on discovery, judicially-mandated discovery, managerial judging, and exceptions to the trans-substantive applicability of civil rules.  Students will be exposed to case studies in contrasting aspects of federal and state procedure, considering the effectiveness of those rules in furthering substantive adjudication and litigation efficiency.  Recent proposals for deregulation of the legal profession also will be discussed with reference to the goals of civil litigation. 

See Full Course Details