Civil Procedure

The orderly, fair, and efficient resolution of disputes is inarguably an essential feature of modern government. Civil procedure refers to the rules and practices that govern courts, lawyers, and litigants in the resolution of disputes. In our complex and sometimes contentious world disputes can encompass everything from a consumer complaint about a product to a massive anti-trust case or a defense of a Constitutional right that could affect the entire country. Necessarily, the rules needed to guide participants to dispute resolution mirror the complexity of society. Lawyers, it may be said, are the intermediaries between claimants, their adversaries, and the courts. 

The first-year course in Procedure, described above in the section on First-Year Courses, provides all JD students with a basic understanding of the operation of our courts under these rules. The major topics addressed include the general reach of the Due Process clause as a bedrock guarantee of fairness; the jurisdiction of courts over persons and subject matter; requirements of notice, pleading; the managerial powers of judges; the available (and required) joinder of persons; motion practice; discovery; short-cuts to judgment; the right to a jury trial; the power of courts to regulate jury verdicts; and the finality of judgments.  

Every JD graduate should, however, have more than just a basic understanding of procedure. Upper-class courses are recommended not only to those students aspiring to become litigators but as well to those desiring a more sophisticated understanding of procedure rules and practice. These courses include: Appellate Advocacy Workshop; Comparative Civil Procedure; Complex Litigation; Evidence; Federal Courts and the Appellate Process; Federal Courts and the Federal System; and How to Try a Jury Trial Intelligently.

Classes in international arbitration and international litigation address civil procedure issues in the context of cross-border disputes. This area is discussed below under the heading “Private International Law/International Litigation/Arbitration.” 

In addition, several of the clinical offerings focus on developing litigation skills in various contexts. They are: Civil Litigation – Employment Law Clinic; Immigrant Rights Clinic; Federal Judicial Practice Externship; Government Civil Litigation Externship; New York Civil Liberties Clinic; Racial Justice Clinic; and Reproductive Justice Clinic and Advanced Reproductive Justice Clinic.

Find out more about Civil Procedure at NYU Law.