Meeting with Judge Lipez


Today Judge Lipez met with interested lawyers at the Maine State Bar Association’s offices in Augusta to talk about what’s doing with the First Circuit — what changes were afoot, what were practitioners’ concerns, etc.  There were about ten lawyers present, and the meeting lasted about two hours.   

So first of all, kudos to him for holding this meeting and caring (the idea going forward is to have similar informal meetngs twice a year).

Here are some interesting tidbits I learned:

1.  CAMP settlement – the statistics show that of the appeals in which settlement conferences are held, 33-38% settle; of all the eligible appeals for CAMP treatment, 19-26% settle.  These numbers were a little surprising to those present, since none of them had had a case settle via CAMP conferencing.  All agreed that it would be interesting to know more — what types of cases tend to settle, from where, etc.

2.  You can register for e-notice now (details on the Court’s website).  If you sign up,then thereafter, the Court will send you notices – orders etc. — in all your cases only electronically.

3.  E-filing is coming, too, but slowly, and we will still be filing a lot of paper.  Four circuits have some sort of e-filing now (4th, 6th, 8th, 9th), but only one is totally paperless and has apparently had issues.  So we’ll still be sending hard copies of the appendix to the Court.

4.  The Court will be visiting Maine for arguments in April 2010, to be held at the U. Me. Law School.   

5. Rebuttal – the rule in the First Circuit is hazy on whether you can get rebuttal, and I’ve seen the gamut – judges saying no, to sure.  It’s apparently going to stay that way — the formal rule won’t change and it will be up to the panel (I’ve seen Judge Boudin say yes, Judge Lipez will say yes; Judges Torruella and Selya are less enthusiastic).  If you want rebuttal, ask at the beginning, and only ask to reserve a small amount of time, 1-3 minutes.

6.  Only 8% of the Court’s case load comes from Maine.  We’re small but choice.

7.  The average time from filing to disposition is 13.1 months.  This is slightly longer than the average 12.6 months.  This statistic astonishes me, because my experience in the DC, 2d, and 9th Circuit is that they are much slower than the First Circuit.  I guess the other circuits I’m not familiar with must be rocket docketing their appeals to create this national average. 

It was a very good meeting, and I owuld recommend all to attend the next time around.