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Externships & Summer Jobs: Guide to Legal Research: Federal Appeals

This guide is intended to direct externs to relevant sources for completing research assignments.

Court Rules

The main source of laws governing appeals is the court rules. 

Annotated versions of both the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and Local Appellate Rules are published in the USCS and USCA (in the latter, they are included in title 28 of the Code).

Secondary Sources

Every practitioner should be aware of the below treatises, which are extensive and often cited by the courts. These volumes are critical to much of the substantive law (even though procedural) discussed on appeal. Each treatise is arranged more by topic than rule. 

Ninth Circuit Appellate Practice

Case Citations

Appellate cases were traditionally published in reporters. Citations to these cases were to the volume, the reporter, and the page number. This was followed by a notation of what court made the decision if it wasn't apparent from the citation and the date. Many times the reporter abbreviations contain a series notation. For example, Washington Supreme Court cases were reported in volumes 1-200 of Washington Reports. Instead of numbering the next volume 201, the Reporter of Decisions elected to start a new series so the volume became 1 Washington Reporter, Second Series.

Below is a sample citation with an explanation of each part:

More Bluebook citation information for federal court cases can be found at the Georgetown Bluebook Guide.

Published/Unpublished Cases

Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1 and Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3 discuss citation of unpublished opinions (acceptable after Jan. 1, 2007).

Washington court rule, General Rule 14.1 sets forth the rule for citing unpublished opinions.

Dockets

Practitioners may need access to court documents and the documents filed in court. 

Federal Appellate Briefs

A limited number of briefs may also be available for free on the Internet.

9th Circuit Oral Arguments

Resources for Federal Appeals in Washington State

This page is meant to supplement the research guide on Appellate Practice in Washington.