Civil procedure focuses on the litigation process through which parties enforce legal rights by going to court. Litigation is the traditional mechanism in a common law system for disposing of disputes under the supervision and control of elected or appointed judges and subject to the coercive force of government. In civil procedure we study the rules and norms that govern noncriminal cases, in which private individuals and government may be parties. Those rules are rooted in constitutional and other sources of law. They structure the course and effects of litigation, from the filing of the lawsuit to the entry of final judgment and the determination of that judgment’s impact on the parties to the suit and others. This course will cover some of the most important aspects of the litigation process, including the determination of what court or courts (state or federal) have authority to dispose of the cases presented and what substantive rules of law are applicable. Along the way, an introduction to alternatives to this highly formalized mode of dispute resolution will be presented. Although these topics require attention to highly complex and detailed legal doctrine, at a meta-level, they involve larger theoretical issues of the power and the legitimacy of courts and the law that they apply. Just as important as the legal doctrine and theory that you will study are the skills that you will develop, including legal analysis and argumentation and the ability to think deeply and critically about how the law develops and changes.