University of Pittsburgh

Federal Courts and Federal Litigation - Hellman

Publish Date/Time: 
January 2, 2014

Welcome to the course on Federal Courts and Federal Litigation.


The casebook for this course is Hellman, Robel & Stras, Federal Courts: Cases and Materials on Judicial Federalism and the Lawyering Process (3d ed. 2013) (LexisNexis). The other required book is the 2013 Judicial Code Supplement. There is also a 2013 Supplement to the Casebook (recommended but not required). All of the books should be available in the bookstore.

The casebook is available both in the standard hardback edition and in a loose-leaf edition (at a substantially lower price) that can be used with a standard three-hole binder. The loose-leaf edition should be at the bookstore by Wednesday.


There is a TWEN page for this course. Please sign up for it. Assignments and other announcements will be made through TWEN. You are responsible for keeping up to date with TWEN messages.


For our first class on Monday, I would like you to read sections A and B in Chapter 1 of the casebook. Section B explores the different selection processes for state and federal judges. How might these affect the characteristics of state and federal judges as a group? And how might those differences affect a lawyer’s preference for one court system over the other?

As you will see throughout the course, litigants (or more accurately their lawyers) often go to great lengths to get into – or stay out of – federal court. What differences between the two court systems – other than the characteristics of the judges – account for these preferences?

Please prepare to discuss these questions at our first meeting Monday Jan. 6.

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