Book Review: Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, Third Edition (Robert L. Haig, Editor-in-Chief)

By Treece, Randolph F. | Albany Law Review, Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

Book Review: Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, Third Edition (Robert L. Haig, Editor-in-Chief)


Treece, Randolph F., Albany Law Review


Federal court practice, particularly commercial and intellectual property litigation, has inauspiciously acquired an aura of mystique causing too many practitioners to tread only if they dare. Over the years, the federal bench and bar have come to rely extensively upon several notable legal treatises, such as, for example, Moore's Federal Practice (1) and those by Wright & Miller, (2) to guide them through their respective apprehensive federal experiences. Generally speaking, they have often been the "go to" treatises attempting to ameliorate the mystery surrounding the practice of law in federal court. But, after thirteen years in publication and rapidly gaining greater stature and legal prominence, the highly regarded Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts ("Federal Commercial Litigation") (3) has been touted as a comprehensive federal law compendium supplanting Moore's and Wright's stronghold on this market.

As a collaborative effort by West Publishing Company and the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association, this is the third iteration of an essential and exquisite commercial and legal treatise that has crested to towering dimensions. The First and Second Editions of Federal Commercial Litigation were published in 1998 and 2005, respectively, and the treatise has bloomed from its original six volumes in breadth and compilation to now eleven volumes, 130 chapters, thirty-four of which are new additions, and a staggering 12,742 pages, written by 229 prominent practitioners and twenty-two distinguished federal judges. Federal Commercial Litigation is the consummate commercial and federal practice legal cornucopia.

Having reviewed--even frequently referred to--several federal treatises, I can attest, without reservation, that Federal Commercial Litigation provides the most in-depth treatment of federal substantive and procedural law currently in existence. It is as comprehensive as any practitioner or scholar would ever expect, and even the breadth of the table of contents, as a reference tool, is bedazzling. The formatting is linear and logical as a step-by-step practice guide through the thickets of federal procedural and substantive law, commencing at the very inception or formulation of a case to its ultimate conclusion. The first five volumes are dedicated to the pretrial and trial stage: how to conduct a thorough investigation, understanding the limited jurisdiction of federal courts, analyzing or evaluating the dimensions of a case, appreciating the nuances of federal pleading requirements, realizing the broad expanse and liberality of federal discovery and the rigidity of federal motion practice, developing an intricate discernment of all aspects of trial and appellate practice, and being well-informed on post-judgment mechanisms. Concomitantly, the treatise contains an assiduous analysis of federal substantive law. There are sixty-three chapters covering federal commercial substantive law such as securities, (4) antitrust, (5) banking, (6) contracts, (7) insurance, (8) intellectual property, (9) business torts, (10) franchises, (11) admiralty, (12) labor, (13) tax, (14) e-commerce, (15) and governmental and administrative agencies, (16) and that's just naming a few.

I merely skimmed the surface of this vast reservoir of procedural and substantive topics and themes, because there are just too many to explore within this book review. Everything a lawyer would need in order to competently handle commercial litigation in federal court, or could conceivably imagine relevant at some point in their litigation practice, is fully incorporated and integrated into this treatise. The treatise is so sweeping in its scope and there are so many various legal matters encompassed within the eleven volumes that even specific volumes elude categorization. Several volumes cover substantive legal areas peculiar to federal practice, like commodities and futures, mergers and acquisitions, derivatives, export controls, the Alien Tort Statute and Torture Victim Protection Act, sports and entertainment law, e-commerce, white collar crimes, money laundering and information technology, to name only a few.

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