Uncovering Unpublished Opinions

Lawyers practicing in federal court, particularly in the 9th Circuit, need to be aware of a recent change to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. Starting Jan. 1, lawyers may cite all opinions issued by the federal circuit courts of appeal after 2006. Cases marked "not for publication" may be cited now in party briefs as persuasive authority in circuits that previously had threatened sanctions for such references. Following years of heated debate among the circuits, the controversial new rule will affect how many lawyers research and draft federal-court briefs.

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