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1 Robert Timothy Reagan, A Snapshot of Briefs, Opinions, and Citations in Federal Appeals 321 (2006)

handle is hein.congcourts/snapbrief0001 and id is 1 raw text is: A SNAPSHOT OF BRIEFS, OPINIONS, AND CITATIONS
Robert Timothy Reagan*
To assist the federal courts in deciding whether to require
the courts of appeals to accept citations to their unpublished
opinions, the Federal Judicial Center assessed the frequency of
citations to unpublished opinions in a sample of federal appeals.
This article grew out of that citation study, because my
colleagues and I noticed while collecting the necessary data that
they contained information about a number of other interesting
topics, all of which seemed to us to be of interest to the appellate
community. We learned about case disposition times; the
frequency with which both published and unpublished opinions
are issued; the average length of counseled briefs and the
frequency with which they are filed; the average length of both
published and unpublished opinions; and the frequency with
which various types of authorities are cited in both briefs and
* Senior research associate, Federal Judicial Center. A.B. Stanford University 1980
(Psychology, Human Biology); Ph.D. Harvard University 1986 (Psychology); J.D.
University of California, Hastings College of the Law 1993. The views expressed herein
are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Federal Judicial Center.
1. This article presents data collected for a project conducted for the federal Appellate
Rules Advisory Committee, resulting in a published report: Robert Timothy Reagan, et al.,
Citing Unpublished Opinions in Federal Appeals (Fed. Jud. Ctr. 2005) [hereinafter FJC
Study]. New Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1 requires federal courts of appeals to
accept citations to their unpublished opinions issued in 2007 or later, but it is not intended
to affect the precedential effect of the opinions.
I am grateful to my colleagues Meghan Dunn, David Guth, Sean Harding, Andrea
Henson-Armstrong, Laural Hooper, Marie Leary, Jennifer Marsh, and Robert Niemic for
their assistance in collecting these data. We are grateful to Justice Samuel Alito, who as a
judge on the Third Circuit was chair of the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee when we
conducted this research; to incoming dean David Levi of Duke Law School, who as chief
judge for the Eastern District of California was chair of the standing Committee on Rules
of Practice and Procedure; and to all of the committees' members. We also are grateful to
the clerks and other staff members in the federal courts of appeals for their assistance with
our efforts.

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