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Practitioners Beware: Under Amended Trap 47, 'Unpublished' Memorandum Opinions in Civil Case are Binding and Research on Westlaw and Lexis is a Necessity

St. Mary's Law Journal, Vol. 40, p. 693, 2009

59 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2009  

Andrew T. Solomon

South Texas College of Law

Date Written: June 16, 2009

Abstract

This Article examines the history and current status of unpublished and memorandum intermediate appellate court opinions in Texas civil cases. Specifically, it critiques the 2003 and 2008 amendments to Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure (TRAP) 47, the rule that governs the issuance, citation, and precedential value of unpublished and memorandum opinions. The 2008 amendment made memorandum opinions issued in civil cases since 2003 fully precedential. As a result, to competently research binding law in civil cases, Texas attorneys must now have access to Westlaw or Lexis because the court websites lack sophisticated search engines necessary to conduct competent legal research. This monumental shift in Texas law occurred without proper study into its effects upon Texas lawyers and in era where only 60% of attorneys use fee-based online research services (i.e., Westlaw or Lexis) for state case law research.

Keywords: Legal Research, Westlaw, Lexis, Unpublished Opinions

Suggested Citation

Solomon, Andrew T., Practitioners Beware: Under Amended Trap 47, 'Unpublished' Memorandum Opinions in Civil Case are Binding and Research on Westlaw and Lexis is a Necessity (June 16, 2009). St. Mary's Law Journal, Vol. 40, p. 693, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1420910

Andrew T. Solomon (Contact Author)

South Texas College of Law ( email )

1303 San Jacinto Street
Houston, TX 77002
United States
713-646-2905 (Phone)
713-646-1644 (Fax)

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