The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent


For students taking civil procedure

The Parable of the Forms


If you are starting law school this fall, one of your classes might be civil procedure. If so, do I have a story for you. Actually, more of a parable. Here is a parable that describes the major changes in civil procedure (especially pleading) over the last five hundred years, with an emphasis on the logic behind the forms of action, code pleading, and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

(If you've read this parable before, you may be interested in the new version I just posted. Among other changes, it reflects excellent comments about codification from Professor Kellen Funk of Columbia.)