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Janssen co-authors top civil rules handbook for 24th year

Release Date: 12/5/2016

DEC. 1, 2016  |  Back in the early 1990s, a few friends who were federal civil court law clerks thought it might be a good idea to create a handy and easy-to-understand guide on all of the civil rules that impact federal courts.  In 1993, the first edition of the Federal Civil Rules Handbook was published.

Twenty-four years later, three co-authors – all now law professors – have published their 24th edition of the same handbook, now recognized as the go-to resource for attorneys practicing in federal civil courts.

About the time each new edition comes out, the authors are already hard at work to ensure the next year’s edition is up-to-date.  The just-published 2017 edition, for example, includes more than 1,300 new citations to various legal authorities to ensure attorneys get clear understandings of the meaning and implications of federal civil court rules.

Co-author Bill Janssen, a professor of law at the Charleston School of Law, says the 2½-inch-thick, 2,000+ page guide fills a critical gap in legal circles.

“Lawyers can get the language of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure almost anywhere, including easily on the Internet,” he said.  “But the language of the Rules often does not give a clear sense as to how a specific Rule ought to be applied in a particular factual situation.

“Our handbook gives to lawyers the text of the Rules, a survey of how the federal courts are interpreting those Rules in various settings, and citations to those authorities,” he explained.  “One volume is far more value than the naked text of the Rules themselves – and is much less heavy to carry around than a 40+ volume treatise set!” 

Co-authoring the book with Janssen are Steven Baicker-McKee, an assistant professor of law at Duquesne University School of Law and John B. Corr, a professor of law at American University’s Washington College of Law.  The handbook, distributed nationally,  is published by Thomson Reuters and is its #1 author-written legal text.

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