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Valuable Free Appellate Practice Resources from the Federal Judicial Center

June 13th, 2012 · 1 Comment


The Federal Judicial Center is the research and education agency of the federal judicial system. By statute, the FJC is charged with:

  • conducting and promoting orientation and continuing education and training for federal judges, court employees, and others;
  • developing recommendations about the operation and study of the federal courts; and
  • conducting and promoting research on federal judicial procedures, court operations, and history

To further its mission, the FJC publishes studies, reports and even treatises on substantive areas of the law, and also maintains a YouTube channel. All of the written materials can be downloaded for free from the FJC’s website. While many publications (such as the 32 items about caseloads and case weights) are primarily of interest to judges and other court personnel, two items are of particular interest to appellate lawyers:

A Primer on the Jurisdiction of the U.S. Courts of Appeals
(2d ed. 2009): This 102-page manual provides an introduction to the complexity and nuance in the subject-matter jurisdiction of the U.S. Courts of Appeals. The monograph examines procedural issues related to the exercise of appellate jurisdiction in appeals from final judgments and interlocutory appeals. Coverage includes civil and criminal appeals, extraordinary writs, and federal administrative agency reviews. This edition contains new sections on the future of the Courts of Appeals, judicial rulemaking, non-party appeals in criminal matters, and an updated bibliography.

Case Management Procedures in the Federal Courts of Appeals
(2d ed. 2011): This 227-page report details the varying appellate practices and procedures of the U.S. courts of appeals within the generally uniform appellate scheme imposed by the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. Part I of the report highlights key variations from court to court; Part II describes in detail the case management procedures of each court.

Just about every litigator (not just appellate practitioners) should find the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence (3d ed. 2011)—which weighs in at a whopping 1034 pages—and Managing Discovery of Electronic Information: A Pocket Guide for Judges (2d ed. 2012) to be helpful. Finally, depending on the focus of your practice, you might also be interested in Major Issues in the Federal Law of Employment Discrimination (5th ed. 2012) and Section 1983 Litigation (2d ed. 2008).

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