As I have reported previously (e.g. entry of June 23, 2009), every six months or so, Judge Lipez holds a dialogue with Maine attorneys. Yesterday he held such a session, with about 20 attorneys in attendance, at Pierce Atwood's Portland offices. I shall give a full report presently, but one point I wanted to note promptly is that, the rebuttal rule in the First Circuit has been proposed to be changed, as a product of these meetings.
In a past meeting, I noted that the existing rule (no rebuttal) and practice (almost always allowed), diverged. (See previous entry.) This wasn't fair, I thought, to the folks from away, who wouldn't know that they could almost always get rebuttal if they just asked. Well, Judge Lipez listened, took the point to the rest of the Court, and they now propose to change the rule, which, as amended, will provide:
"Allowance of time for rebuttal is within the discretion of the presiding judge, but often appellant will be allowed to reserve a few minutes on requires made at the outset of opening argument. However, counsel is expected to cover all anticipated issues in opening argument. Reserved rebuttal time is for the purpose of answering contentions made in the other side's oral argument. Any time allowed to be reserved by the presiding judge will be deducted from that party's allotted time for opening argument."
(Local Rule 34.0.) Any comments on the proposed change are due to the Office of the Clerk by December 17, 2009.
Thank you, Judge Lipez.