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 at no charge from the FJC’s website. While many publications are primarily of interest to judges and other court personnel, a number of them are valuable references for lawyers as well. Here are my top seven picks:
For all Litigators
Awarding Attorneys’ Fees and Managing Fee Litigation (3d ed. 2015): this 192-page book “analyzes the law of attorneys’ fee awards under fee-shifting statutes, the common fund doctrine and its progeny, and the substantial benefit doctrine. It explains the issues that federal judges are most likely to encounter in attorneys’ fees litigation, including discretionary awards to non-prevailing parties, valuation of class settlements, empirical studies of class action fee awards, and changes in the PSLRA. The monograph also describes judicial techniques for case management and discusses relevant local rules.”
Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence (3d ed. 2011): this 1034-page tome contains sections on the admissibility of expert testimony; how science works; forensic identification expertise; statistics; multiple regression; survey research, estimation of economic damages; exposure science; epidemiology; toxicology; medical testimony; neuroscience; mental health evidence and engineering.
Managing Discovery of Electronic Information: A Pocket Guide for Judges (2d ed. 2012): This brief (48-page) guide “helps federal judges manage the discovery of electronically stored information (ESI). It encourages judges to actively manage cases that involve ESI through early intervention and sustained supervision and to use the many tools available to them—case-management conferences and orders, limits on discovery, tiered or phased discovery, sampling, cost shifting, and, if necessary, sanctions—to facilitate cooperation among opposing lawyers and to ensure that discovery is fair, reasonable, and proportional to each case. It covers issues unique to the discovery of ESI, including its scope, the allocation of costs, the form of production, the waiver of privilege and work product protection, and the preservation of data and spoliation.”
For 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.”
For Employment Discrimination and Civil Rights Lawyers
Major Issues in the Federal Law of Employment Discrimination (5th ed. 2012): This 222-page book, which is current through June 2011, presents “[a]n examination of the substantive and procedural provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964….The field of employment discrimination law continues to expand to cover new forms of discrimination and additional employment practices. Both new judicial decisions and new legislation have addressed the issues in this field in increasing detail. The book covers such issues as claims of disparate treatment and disparate impact, affirmative action, and discrimination on the basis of sex, national origin, and religion. Other federal remedies for employment discrimination are also discussed. A bibliography of works the author considers most useful to judges and lawyers in the field is included.”
Section 1983 Litigation (3d ed. 2014): This 402-page book “analyzes the large number of recurring issues that arise in litigation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This monograph contains new sections on discovery, Bivens claims, new material on stops and searches, and model jury instructions. It includes case law from the October 2013 Supreme Court term ending June 30, 2014, and major courts of appeals and select district court decisions reported through June 30, 2014.”