Advocacy in the Era of the Vanishing Trial

17 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2012

Date Written: December 21, 2012


This short paper, written for a conference marking the seventy-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, does four things. First, it summarizes the evidence that the trial is disappearing and expresses the author's ambivalence about preparing lawyers to adapt to a world without trials. Second, it discusses the place of the trial within the envisioned structure of the federal rules and argues that some imagination for the ways of the trial court will remain important for litigators. Third, it speculates about the ways in which civil practice and advocacy is likely changing in a world without trials. Finally, it identifies a number of aspects of the trial which cannot be replaced by other procedures.

Keywords: Trial Advocacy, Civil Procedure

JEL Classification: K10, K19, K40, K41, K49

Suggested Citation

Burns, Robert P., Advocacy in the Era of the Vanishing Trial (December 21, 2012). Kansas Law Review, Forthcoming, Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 12-36, Available at SSRN:

Robert P. Burns (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-6613 (Phone)
312-503-8977 (Fax)

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