Civil Procedure Research Resources
Prepared by Cheryl Nyberg; updated by Mary Whisner
Updated Oct. 8, 2014.
Note: Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance, and Westlaw are for subscribers only.
See the following Gallagher guides on related subjects.
- Diversity Readings in Civil Procedure
- Washington Practice Materials
- Researching Judicial Clerkship Opportunities (include court directories and judicial biographies)
- Trial Advocacy Resources
Federal procedural rules (including the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence, and so on) are available in many sources, print and online.
|Sources of Fed. R. Civ. P.||Format||Text?||Adv. Comm. Notes?||Case Annotations, Other Research Aids?|
|Legal Information Institute (Cornell)||free website||yes||yes||no|
|CALI (source: LII)||free ebook||yes||yes||no|
|United States Code (following title 28)||print (Reference Area KF62) and online (FDSys)||yes||yes||no|
|United States Code Annotated (following title 28)||print (Reference Area KF62) and online (Westlaw)||yes||yes||yes|
|United States Code Service (volumes at end of set)||print (Reference Area KF62) and online (LexisNexis)||yes||yes||yes|
|Moore's Federal Practice||treatise: print and online (LexisNexis)||yes||yes||yes|
|Federal Practice & Procedure (Wright & Miller)||treatise: print and online (Westlaw)||yes||yes||yes|
|court rules pamphlets||yes||yes||no|
|House of Representatives committee print||PDF on uscourts.gov||yes||no||no|
For Washington, see Washington State Court Opinions & Related Sources.
See About the Rulemaking Process on the U.S. Courts website.
Outline of the process:
- The advisory committee for civil rules (or appellate or bankruptcy, etc.) receives a suggestion, considers it, and drafts and amendment.
- The advisory committee publishes the for public comment, possibly holding hearings.
- The advisory committee takes up the draft again for consideration and possible redrafting. If the committee approves it, then it sends the draft (with its "advisory committee notes") to the Standing Committee (the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States).
- If the Standing Committee approves the draft, it refers it to the Judicial Conference.
- If the Judicial Conference approves the draft (September), it refers it to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- If the U.S. Supreme Court approves the draft, it refers it to Congress (by May 1).
- If Congress doesn't act, the new rule takes effect Dec. 1.
Records and Archives of the Rules Committees (going back to 1960) are available on the U.S. Courts website. They're arranged by date, so you have to know when the rule you're researching was changed. Start with treatises (Moore's and Federal Practice and Procedure) to read commentary and track the major changes.
For Washington, see Court Rules page on Washington Courts website.
Moore's Federal Practice, 3d ed., 1997-date. 30+ vols.
Thorough treatment; more practical, less academic than Wright & Miller.
Vols. 1-12 cover civil procedure.
Tables volume includes a "Table of Statutes" that is arranged, in part, by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Includes the Manual for Complex Litigation and the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence.
Wright & Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, 3d ed., 1998-date. 50+ vols.
Scholarly and authoritative. Provides exhaustive coverage of federal appellate, civil, and criminal procedure.
Vols. 4-12 cover civil procedure matters, including commencement of action, service of process, pleadings and motions, parties, depositions and discovery, trials, judgments, remedies, and appeals.
Federal Procedure, Lawyers Edition, 1981-date. 50+ vols.
"A problem-solving textual analysis of federal judicial and administrative procedure." Arranged by topic, not rule number.
Includes the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, Sentencing Guidelines for U.S. Courts (with annotations from the U.S. Code Service), and a 9th Circuit Rules volume, with court rules for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the District Courts located in the 9th Circuit.
|Newberg on Class Actions, 4th ed., 2002-date. 11 vols.
Reference Area at KF8896.N4 2002 & Westlaw: CLASSACT
Many more treatises—often focused on litigation in one practice area or jurisdiction—are available on Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance, and WestlawNext.
AmJur Pleading and Practice Forms, 1967-date. 70+ vols.
Reference Area at KF8836.A45 & Westlaw
Commentary and guidelines. Covers notices, complaints, petitions, declarations, summonses, demurrers, answers, counterclaims, cross-complaints, interrogatories, replies, motions, affidavits, stipulations, bills of particulars, subpoenas, orders, writs, jury instructions, findings of fact, judgments, bonds, decrees, and more.
Moore's Manual: Federal Practice Forms, 1964-2002. 7 looseleaf vols.
Reference Area at KF8836.M66 & Lexis
Contains forms from more than 50 treatises and forms collections (including AmJur Pleading and Practice Forms, Federal Procedural Forms, and West's Federal Forms) and state-specific forms (including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin).
West's Federal Forms, 1952-date. 22 vols.
Compact Stacks at KF8836.W3) (print subscription canceled in 2009) & Westlaw: FEDFORMS
Arranged by rule numbers. Companion to Wright & Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure.
- Bender's Federal Practice Forms
- Manual of Federal Practice: Forms
- Nichol's Cyclopedia of Federal Procedure Forms: NCFPF
A "comprehensive array of federal pleading and practice forms, accompanied by a concise treatment of the latest relevant federal law."
In addition to using published forms, researchers now have the ability to search documents used in actual litigation. Bloomberg Law offers the best docket databases. (Westlaw and Lexis Advance also have court filings, but some materials are not available under our the academic subscription.)
AmJur Proof of Facts, 1st, 2d, and 3d series. 1959-date. 150+ vols.
Reference Area at KF8933.A42 & Westlaw
Provides expert advice on a wide range of civil actions. Covers preparing the case and determining the facts. Includes strategies, tactics, practice tips, checklists, sample interrogatories, model discovery forms, sample proofs, and diagrams.
Bender's Forms of Discovery, 1963-date. 33 looseleaf vols.
Reference Area at KF8900.A3B4 & Lexis
A vast collection of interrogatories, arranged by topic, and a treatise. Index to interrogatories appears in vol. 10A.
Pattern Discovery: Products Liability, 3d ed. 1995-97. 2 vols.
Classified Stacks at KF8900.D328 1995
Search the Gallagher Law Library catalog for additional titles by subject headings, such as Depositions--United States.
These sets contain instructions for a wide variety of topics.
Federal Jury Practice and Instructions, 5th ed. 2000-date. 10 vols.
Reference Area at KF8984.D4 2000 & Westlaw
Manual of Model Civil Jury Instructions for the Ninth Circuit
Reference Area at KF8984.A65M37 (latest ed.), Classified Stacks at KF8984.A65M37 (earlier eds.), 9th Circuit website & Westlaw
- JI-ALL, "all state and federal published, pattern, standard or model civil and criminal jury instructions available on Westlaw.
- JIF-ALL, "contains the text of actual jury instructions submitted and filed in selected state and federal courts."
Some jury instructions are designed for certain types of cases.
Model Jury Instructions: Patent Litigation, 2005. Table of contents
Classified Stacks at KF8984.A65 P38 2005
Model Jury Instructions: Business Torts Litigation, 4th ed. 2005.
Classified Stacks at KF8984.A65 A5 2005
Model Jury Instructions for Fidelity Cases, 2003.
Classified Stacks at KF1223 .M63 2003
Model Jury Instructions for Surety Cases, 2000.
Classified Stacks at KF1045.A65 M63 2000 & Westlaw: ABA-JI-SUR
Sample Jury Instructions in Civil Antitrust Cases, 1999.
Classified Stacks at KF1657.J8S26 1999
Model Jury Instructions: Securities Litigation, 1996.
Classified Stacks at KF8984 .M64 1996
Sample Civil RICO Jury Instructions, 1994.
Reference Area at KF9375.Z9S26 1994
Search the Gallagher Law Library catalog for additional titles by subject heading: Instructions to Juries--United States--Forms.
- Jury Instructions in Automobile Actions
- Jury Instructions in Commercial Litigation
- Jury Instructions on Damages in Tort Actions
- Jury Instructions on Medical Issues
- Jury Instructions on Products Liability
- Modern Federal Jury Instructions-Civil
See also LLRX, Revisiting Jury Instructions, which lists publications of statewide jury instructions.