May 2013 Bar Bulletin
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May 2013 Bar Bulletin

Commercial Litigation Treatise Is a Must-Have

By Phil Cutler


Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, Third Edition Robert L. Haig, Editor-in-Chief ABA Section of Litigation and Thomson/West, 2011

Lawyers face a host of challenges these days, as this issue of the Bar Bulletin demonstrates. One significant practice challenge is keeping up with the pace of court decisions and rules, statutory enactments and regulatory decisions, and the development and honing of skills in the resolution of disputes in the wide variety of matters in which their clients find themselves.

Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, Third Edition (ABA Section of Litigation and Thomson/West, 2011), is a valuable asset certainly for generalists, but also for litigators and trial lawyers skilled in some areas but not in others, and for those lawyers who wish to learn from their skilled peers. It builds on and significantly expands the two previous editions - 1998 and 2005. It remains, however, a unique and comprehensive (now in 11 volumes) roadmap to commercial litigation practice.

The Third Edition successfully combines substantive law with procedure, trial advocacy and practical advice. Although the book emphasizes federal court practice, its content is useful as well in arbitration and state-court litigation, particularly in states like Washington where trial court rules generally parallel the federal rules.

Editor-in-chief Robert Haig, a distinguished commercial-case trial lawyer with Kelley Drye & Warren in New York, has once again assembled an outstanding cadre of nationally renowned commercial litigators, trial lawyers and judges - 251 in all - to update the Second Edition's content and author 34 new chapters, covering a number of areas that have dramatically increased in importance since publication of the Second Edition. These include internal investigations; coordination of state and federal litigation; international arbitration; regulatory litigation with the SEC; the interplay between commercial litigation and criminal proceedings; sports; and information technology.

Their herculean efforts have once again born considerable fruit. Having participated as one of four authors of two chapters in a considerably shorter book on best practices in commercial arbitration, I can attest to the time and effort expended by the authors of Business & Commercial Litigation, who devoted millions of dollars of otherwise billable time to this compendium's Third Edition.

The list of authors reads like a "Who's Who" of trial lawyers and accomplished public servants. A sampling: David Boies ("Litigation Technology"); Warren Christopher ("Litigating International Disputes"); Benjamin Civiletti ("Compensatory Damages"); John J. Curtin, Jr. ("Trials"); Stephen Susman ("Techniques for Expediting and Streamlining Litigation"); and Mary Jo White ("Foreign Corrupt Practices Act"). As with previous editions, members of the Seattle bar and judiciary are among the authors: Western District of Washington Judge Robert Lasnik ("Responses to Complaints"); David Binney, Fredric Tausend and Mark Wittow ("Judgments"); David Burman ("Court-Awarded Attorneys' Fees"); and Ninth Circuit Judge Margaret McKeown ("Jury Conduct, Instructions and Verdicts and Court-Awarded Attorneys' Fees").

Like the previous editions, the Third Edition covers all aspects of a commercial case from investigation and case evaluation through resolution by judgment on motion, trial, arbitration or settlement. In addition to chapters dealing with the substantive and procedural mechanics of litigation, it includes more than 60 substantive legal areas commonly encountered in commercial cases (for example, antitrust, contracts, insurance, sale of goods, intellectual property and business torts), as well as industry-specific areas (such as banking, bills and notes, letters of credit, construction, project finance and infrastructure, commercial real estate, entertainment, sports, e-commerce and energy).

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