Federal Courts & Federal Litigation - Hellman


Welcome to the course on Federal Courts and Federal Litigation.

It appears that the enrollment in the course this semester will be low enough to enable me to improve on the method of evaluation I have traditionally used. Rather than basing the entire grade on an in-class exam, I will give an exam that will be limited to one segment of the syllabus. There will also be two brief writing exercises that I will review to provide you with feedback.

Here is some additional information about the course, including the first assignment.


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 2015 Judicial Code Supplement. There is also a 2015 Supplement to the Casebook; it is available free on line on the Lexis website. 

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. It is also available as an e-book.


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 Aug. 24, 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 Aug. 24.