What We Know and What We Should Know About American Trial Trends

15 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2006

See all articles by Margo Schlanger

Margo Schlanger

University of Michigan Law School


This brief essay, which began as a comment on "A World Without Trials?", Marc Galanter's 2005 Annual Distinguished Alternative Dispute Resolution Lecture at the University of Missouri at Columbia, first summarizes recently acquired knowledge about American trial trends - in particular, the chief features we know about the shrinking civil trial docket in federal district courts. Next, it proposes four areas of future investigation necessary to understand the contours of the trend and to assess its causes. Then, I bring together the causal hypotheses that have already been proposed, none of which has yet been securely tested. Finally, in an appended bibliography, I list data sources, reports, and scholarly analyses that will be useful to those doing future work.

Keywords: vanishing trial, litigation, empirical, trials

JEL Classification: K41

Suggested Citation

Schlanger, Margo, What We Know and What We Should Know About American Trial Trends. Journal of Dispute Resolution, 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=917960

Margo Schlanger (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

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