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7th Circuit First to Implement a Wiki

Generally speaking, the most difficult aspect of appellate practice isn't the research, which all of us learn to do in law school, or even the oral argument, which frequently resembles law school moot court. It's complying with the picayune and sometimes obscure court rules, like putting an asterisk near cases of top authority or certifying the right word count or properly spacing footnotes that challenge and befuddle most lawyers far more than substance, because there's often no readily identifiable place to get the right answer.

Unless you practice at the 7th Circuit. As Bob Ambrogi shares here, the 7th Circuit just launched its own wiki, where lawyers and judges can post notes on practice and procedure. As Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, who spearheaded the project, told the NLJ:

The goal is to concentrate on procedure (in both the court of appeals and the district courts) but not to cover substance. We aren't interested in comments about the meaning of ERISA or the Internal Revenue Code and will take down any pages that go beyond the scope of practice and procedure (including jurisdiction).

What a terrific tool, both for lawyers who don't know what they're doing, as well as for lawyers who do. Experienced lawyers can use the wiki to share procedural tips and, thus, place their name in circulation as resident experts, which can generate clients. And lawyers who are first-timers can use the wiki as a resource to figure out how to file an appeal without committing malpractice or looking foolish. My only question is, how long until other circuit courts follow suit?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on May 10, 2007 at 07:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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