Michael C. Smith is an attorney with The Roth Law Firm in Marshall, Texas, where he specializes in product liability, and complex commercial and patent litigation in federal and state courts. Smith has served as chairman of the Local Rules Advisory Committee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas since 2000 and is president of the Eastern District of Texas Bar Association. He has updated O’Connor’s Federal Rules: Civil Trials 2005 (published by Jones McClure Publishing, 2005). It is a bulky tome (1200 pages) whose intended readership comprises lawyers and judges.
Smith’s book is a rulebook on procedure in federal courts, divided into ten main sections, which exhaustively deal with all the aspects of trials in civil courts. Half of the book’s volume details commentaries on the framework of procedures that are to be legally followed in a civil court. The commentaries deal with introduction to the Federal Rules, various considerations on part of attorneys and plaintiffs, proofs and evidences, judgment factors, hearings and pleadings, and all contained within and related to such issues.
The rest of the book deals with MultiDistrict Litigation Rules, Federal Rules (of Civil Procedures, Evidences, and Appellate Procedures), Code and Constitution of the United States, Advisory Committee Notes to Rules, the Hague Convention on Service Abroad, and eventually with Timetables followed in civil court procedures.
The author has taken care to refer district judges as the ‘district court’ and parties as ‘it’, presenting them as corporations (which they often are). This certainly has helped him make a gender-neutral voice.
An index categorizing the major topics with detailed sub-headings, alphabetically, has been added to facilitate topic search.
In sum, Smith’s Civil Trials guide is the law-professional’s complete source for advice and knowledge on every aspect of civil trials in the U.S.