Law Schools Should Teach Non-precedential Federal Appellate Opinions
30 Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing -- (forthcoming 2022)
6 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2022 Last revised: 1 Aug 2022
Date Written: January 23, 2022
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of appellate decisions are binding on future courts and litigants because about 87% of federal appellate opinions are non-precedential. Grappling with the existence, significance, and potential uses of federal appellate non-precedential opinions is a challenging task that law students are not equipped to undertake without guidance from law professors. Law teachers should teach students about non-precedential federal appellate decisions to better prepare them for law practice.
Keywords: non-precedential, federal courts, appellate courts, federal appeals, appellate procedure, hierarchy of authority, legal authority, precedent, non-binding, Llegal education, legal writing, not precedential, unpublished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: Suggested Citation