Moore’s Federal Practice Reaches a Milestone

The standard treatise Moore’s Federal practice by James William Moore reached a milestone last year, with the 75th anniversary of its first publication.  Published in 1938, it rapidly became a standard for practicing attorneys, judges and law libraries. The “new” federal rules of civil procedure were also implemented in 1938, and Moore’s new treatise played an important role in making these known and understood.  Indeed, Moore had a part in the original drafting of the rules, which lent added authority to his treatise.  This work, now in its third edition, remains a standard twenty years after Moore’s death.

In a recent article in the Association of American Law Libraries’ AALL Spectrum Adrienne DeWitt of the North Carolina Central University School of Law Library compared Moore’s with its competitor Wright and Miller’s Federal Practice and Procedure, now published by Thomson Reuters.  She included a chart of her own detailing the rise of this standard treatise from its first incarnation as Federal practice and procedure, with forms : civil and criminal by William W. Barron and Alexander Holtzoff.  Per DeWitt, this treatise debuted to some unfavorable reviews, including one from the Yale Law Journal. The treatise began to improve under the editorship of Charles Alan Wright in 1955, and ten years later Wright and Professor Arthur Miller began a new treatise, Federal practice and procedure, now regarded as Moore’s peer.  DeWitt concludes by wondering whether Thomson Reuters will mark the occasion of Federal practice and procedure’s 50th anniversary next year.  Both of these treatises are monuments of legal scholarship and are available in the Goldman Library.

One thing DeWitt may not have known is that the Moore treatise is, in at least one respect, a sentimental favorite here at the Yale Law School. 

Law students, do you know why?

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