Law Schools Should Teach Non-precedential Federal Appellate Opinions

Rutgers Law School Research Paper No. Forthcoming

30 Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing -- (forthcoming 2022)

6 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2022 Last revised: 1 Aug 2022

See all articles by Sarah E. Ricks

Sarah E. Ricks

Rutgers School of Law - Camden

Date Written: January 23, 2022

Abstract

Most law students would be shocked to learn that the vast majority of decisions by federal appellate courts bind no one but the parties themselves. Only a tiny minority of appellate decisions are binding on future courts and litigants because about 87% of federal appellate opinions are non-precedential. Grappling with the existence, significance, and potential uses of federal appellate non-precedential opinions is a challenging task that law students are not equipped to undertake without guidance from law professors. Law teachers should teach students about non-precedential federal appellate decisions to better prepare them for law practice.

Keywords: non-precedential, federal courts, appellate courts, federal appeals, appellate procedure, hierarchy of authority, legal authority, precedent, non-binding, Llegal education, legal writing, not precedential, unpublished

JEL Classification: K10, K41, K40

Suggested Citation

Ricks, Sarah E., Law Schools Should Teach Non-precedential Federal Appellate Opinions (January 23, 2022). Rutgers Law School Research Paper No. Forthcoming, 30 Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing -- (forthcoming 2022), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4170716

Sarah E. Ricks (Contact Author)

Rutgers School of Law - Camden ( email )

Newark, NJ
United States
856-225-6419 (Phone)
856-225-6516 (Fax)

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