Oregon State Bar Bulletin — NOVEMBER 2006

Legal Practice Tips
A Worthy Update:
Book review:
"Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts"

By Lois O. Rosenbaum

Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts (2nd ed. 2005), Robert L. Haig, editor-in-chief

Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts (2nd edition) is an up-to-date, well-organized and comprehensive treatise that will complement every law library. The eight volumes cover a wide spectrum of procedural and substantive issues that practitioners encounter during the course of litigating business cases in federal court.

The editor-in-chief, Robert L. Haig, a partner in Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, did an outstanding job of recruiting authors of the individual chapters to this second edition of the 1998 treatise. The contributors to this edition include 17 circuit and federal district court judges (including Hon. Susan P. Graber, Hon. M. Margaret McKeown, Hon. Robert S. Lasnik and Hon. Jeffrey T. Miller, all from the 9th Circuit appellate and district courts), as well as an impressive array of well-known and experienced partners from respected law firms throughout the country. The second edition expands upon and updates the original 80 chapters and adds 16 new chapters on subjects of current interest, including case evaluation, electronic discovery, techniques for streamlining litigation, litigation technology and avoiding litigation, as well as chapters on new substantive areas, such as mergers and acquisitions, director and officer liability, defamation and disparagement, and e-commerce. The chapter on electronic discovery, for example, written by Judge Scheindlin of the Southern District of New York, does an excellent job of informing readers of recent developments in this rapidly evolving area. Particularly interesting are discussions on strategies to consider when prosecuting or defending cases involving issues that frequently arise in the business law context.

I found the index to be particularly comprehensive and accurate. Although some subjects are dealt with by multiple authors, the different points of views are helpful and appropriate in their different contexts. Included with the purchase of the treatises is a CD-ROM that contains jury instructions, forms and practical checklists that are also in the printed version of the publication. It would have been helpful if the forms in the index on the CD-ROM were linked in the program to the forms themselves, so that users could click on the item in the index and access the form quickly, but not having them linked is a minor inconvenience. It also would have been helpful to facilitating the search function to have had electronic access to the entire text via the Internet (password protected) or the CD-ROM and to have linked the case references to the actual cases themselves. The publisher’s hotline that I called to determine if such linkage was already in place informed me that the wait time to speak with a representative was about an hour, so I did not pursue this avenue further.

In an effort to evaluate usefulness, I asked several of my associates and partners to consult the treatise on projects on which they were working. My colleagues uniformly reported that the volumes were well-organized, helpful and current. I personally consulted the chapters on some of the areas in which I practice, including securities, director and officer liability and class actions, and found them to be well written, thorough and thought-provoking.

Although the treatise cannot replace thorough research, it is an excellent place to start one’s research and to use as a reference for citations to relevant case law, statutes and law review articles on the issues being researched. For the more experienced litigators, the treatise is easily accessible and can provide practical aids and checklists that can be consulted during the course of litigation. Discussions and suggestions on strategic considerations in many of the chapters increase the usefulness of this impressive work.

Although the price of this series ($960, which includes all eight volumes and the CD) may seem expensive, the treatise as a whole should be cost-effective and should improve efficiency of most lawyers involved in commercial and business litigation in federal courts.

Lois Rosenbaum is a partner in the litigation group at Stoel Rives in Portland.

© 2006 Lois Rosenbaum

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