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Ever since the adoption of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in 1938, federal courts have had the power to create their own local rules to “promot[e] uniform practice within a district.” Although some debate whether these rules actually further “the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding,” local rules are here to stay and we owe it to our students to give attention to these rules in the legal writing classroom. As a practical matter, students would benefit from early exposure to the local rules, which continue to proliferate, dictating the minutia of litigation generally, and even extending their reach to direct the processes of particular types of actions. Further, teaching students to read and adhere to a jurisdiction’s local rules—regardless of which—helps instill good habits of attention to detail and professionalism, and it sets our students up for success as junior lawyers. Finally, although lessons on the local rules are grounded in practical application, they need not involve only a superficial how-to explanation. Rather, teaching local rule practice opens the door to more substantive discussions about legal strategy and the theoretical underpinnings of litigation generally.


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27 Mar 2023
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  • Subject
    • Legal Education

    • State and Local Government Law

  • Journal title
    • Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing

  • Volume
    • 22

  • Issue
    • 2

  • Pagination
    • 134-137

  • Date submitted

    27 March 2023