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American Bar Association

ABA Section of Business Law

Business Law Today

Our mini-theme: Business Courts

The Section of Business Law of the ABA has been a champion of business courts and specialized commercial litigation programs for more than a decade. In the past 15 years, states have been creating new business courts and specialized commercial litigation dockets at an accelerating pace. Commercial litigators have seen how these business courts and specialized dockets have greatly reduced litigation costs and case disposition times, and significantly increased the predictability of court decisions and the level of client satisfaction.

Nevertheless, almost every time a new business court or specialized docket has been proposed, it has been met with opposition and wrongly labeled as being "elitist" or unfairly favoring "big business." These myths are easily debunked by the facts and the experiences of those involved with any of the new business courts or specialized dockets. The five articles in this mini-theme explore some of these facts and experiences.

Lee Applebaum's article, The "New" Business Courts: Responding to Modern Business and Commercial Disputes, presents an excellent summary of his unprecedented research in this area. The History of Delaware's Business Courts: Their Rise to Preeminence, written by Vice Chancellor Donald F. Parsons Jr. of the Delaware Court of Chancery and the Honorable Joseph R. Slights III of the Delaware Superior Court, focuses on Delaware's remarkable expertise and innovations in handling commercial litigation and disputes.

Of course, specialization is not unique to the state courts. Strangers in a Strange Land: Specialized Courts Resolving Patent Disputes, by Professor Lawrence M. Sung, Ph.D., touches upon specialized intellectual property judicial systems throughout the world. The Untold Story of the Bankruptcy Courts: A Positive Resource for Business, by Ronald S. Gellert, demonstrates how our federal bankruptcy courts are some of the most important business courts in the country. Finally, Professor Ralph Peeples and Norwegian lawyer Hanne Nyheim have contributed Beyond the Border: An International Perspective on Business Courts, in which they demonstrate that the business court phenomenon is not limited to the United States.

The success of business courts has been marked by the emergence of a critical mass of business court judges. At this writing, the American College of Business Court Judges is about to conduct its third annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The National Conference of the State Trial Judges, another ABA organization, has done much to address needed changes in the court system, such as the establishment of business courts.

-- Mitchell L. Bach

-- Juliet M. Moringiello
   Harrisburg, Pa.

The "new" business courts
Responding to modern business and commercial disputes
By Lee Applebaum

The history of Delaware's business courts
Their rise to preeminence
By Donald F. Parsons Jr. and Joseph R. Slights III

Strangers in a strange land
Specialized courts resolving patent disputes
By Lawrence M. Sung, Ph.D.

The untold story of the bankruptcy courts
A positive resource for business
By Ronald S. Gellert

Beyond the border
An international perspective on business courts
By Ralph Peeples and Hanne Nyheim


Attorney-client privilege
Pitfalls and pointers for transactional attorneys
By Raymond L. Sweigart

Golf and the law
A closer look at the primary assumption of the risk doctrine
By John H. Minan

The Supreme Court's decision in KSR v. Teleflex
New concerns for patents
By William H. Honaker

Courting the suicide king
Closing opinions and lawyer liability
By Donald W. Glazer and Jonathan C. Lipson

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