The New Second Circuit Local Rules: Anatomy and Commentary
Jodi S. Balsam
Brooklyn Law School
December 1, 2010
Brooklyn Journal of Law and Policy, Forthcoming
The New Second Circuit Local Rules provides a general account of the origins, accretion, and renewal of local rules in the federal appellate courts, and specific commentary on the wholesale revision of the Second Circuit’s local rules, adopted in 2010. The Second Circuit local rules had not been holistically reappraised in over 100 years when, in 2008, the Court engaged me to spearhead a comprehensive review and rewrite. Among other things, the project undertook to comply with appellate local rule-making strictures imposed by 1995 amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and by Judicial Conference mandates that originated in a burst of local rule study and superintendence during the 1990s. Notably, the Second Circuit is alone among the thirteen federal appellate courts to conduct such a comprehensive overhaul of its local rules in accordance with the new strictures. This ambitious project has met with great success and provides a role model for other courts considering rules reform.
The article has two objectives: (1) to explain the context of the Second Circuit local rules revision project by providing a history of local rulemaking in the federal appellate courts, including efforts at the national level to reform the circuits’ fragmented collections of local rules, and the Second Circuit’s response to those efforts; and (2) to supply a commentary on the new and revised Second Circuit local rules that details how the new rule-making parameters were applied, and the practical effect of the resulting reforms. It is hoped that an account of how the Second Circuit local rules revision was accomplished may animate and facilitate other federal courts’ efforts at local rules reform, and assist the practicing bar to understand the proper purposes of local rule-making generally and to navigate the Second Circuit’s new rules.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 70
Keywords: civil procedure, local rules, federal courts
Date posted: April 3, 2011