Book Review: More Critical Acclaim For Commercial Litigation Treatise

Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 11:50

The Third Edition of Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts was published in 2010. The Thomson Reuters Column in our December 2011 issue of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel noted that book reviews of the Third Edition have been published in legal newspapers, bar journals and other publications throughout the state of New York and that the critical acclaim has been extraordinary. Quotations from twelve of those book reviews were included in that Column.

After our December 2011 issue was published, many additional book reviews of the Third Edition have been published. The reviewers continue to express great enthusiasm for the work the authors have done. Some of these new book reviews are discussed in this article. But first a few words about the treatise. 

The Treatise

This six-volume, 7,769-page treatise, a joint venture of Thomson Reuters and the New York County Lawyers' Association, contains the work of 144 principal authors, numbering among them many of the best-known commercial litigators and judges in New York. Robert L. Haig of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP serves as the editor-in-chief. The treatise has been widely recognized as a unique and invaluable resource and has become the definitive reference work in this area of law. The Third Edition is a step-by-step practice guide that covers every aspect of a commercial case in New York State courts, from the investigation and assessment that take place at the inception through pleadings, discovery, motions, trial, appeal and enforcement of judgment. Great emphasis is placed on strategic considerations specific to commercial cases. The treatise also contains 38 substantive law chapters that cover the subjects most commonly encountered in commercial cases. Covered as well are compensatory and punitive damages and other remedies. In addition, there are hundreds of pages of essential litigation forms and jury charges in print and on a CD-ROM that comes with the set.

The Authors

The Third Edition of this publication contains the work of 144 principal authors, including 20 distinguished judges and 124 leading commercial litigators. Although the commercial litigators are too numerous to name in this article, the following list of the judicial authors provides a sense of the Third Edition’s quality: Chief Judge of the State of New York Jonathan Lippman; Court of Appeals Judges Victoria A. Graffeo, Robert S. Smith, Stewart F. Hancock, Jr. and George Bundy Smith; Chief Administrative Judge Ann T. Pfau; Appellate Division Justices Richard T. Andrias, Thomas A. Dickerson, Eugene M. Fahey, Helen E. Freedman, Barry A. Cozier and Francis T. Murphy; Commercial Division Justices John M. Curran, Timothy S. Driscoll, Elizabeth H. Emerson, Deborah H. Karalunas,  Emily Pines and Alan D. Scheinkman; Judge Ellen M. Coin; and United States District Judge Brian M. Cogan. 

New Chapters In The Third Edition

The Second Edition of this treatise, which was published in 2005, contained 88 chapters.  Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts evolved over the next five years, and 19 new chapters were added in the Third Edition to address new subjects that are important to commercial litigators today. The following list of new chapter titles in the Third Edition includes a number of subjects whose importance has dramatically increased in recent years: Comparison with Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts; Coordination of Litigation Within New York and Between Federal and State Courts; Sealing of Court Records; Litigation Avoidance and Prevention; Crisis Management; Litigation Management by Law Firms; Litigation Technology; Civility; Employment Restrictive Covenants and Other Post-Employment Restrictions; Not-For-Profit Institution Litigation; Health Care Institution Litigation; White Collar Crime; The Interplay Between Commercial Litigation and Criminal Proceedings; Privacy and Security; Consumer Protection; E-Commerce; Information Technology Litigation; CPLR Article 78 Challenges to Administrative Determinations; and Commercial Real Estate.

The Commercial Division

The First Edition of this treatise was published in 1995 within a few weeks of the day the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York opened its doors for business. Litigation in the Commercial Division is discussed extensively in various chapters of the Third Edition. This treatise and the Commercial Division have matured and prospered over the past seventeen years. The success of this treatise is apparent from the numerous favorable book reviews of the Third Edition quoted in this article. The Commercial Division has also received rave reviews reflected both in the press and in the fact that more than 50,000 cases have been filed in the Commercial Division since its inception.

New Book Reviews

As noted above, many additional book reviews of the Third Edition have been published since the Third Edition was discussed in the Thomson Reuters Column in our December 2011 issue of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel. For example, a book review in the Summer 2012 issue of NY Litigator, the Journal of the New York State Bar Association’s Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, concludes that the “third edition of Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts is an unparalleled practice guide that covers, step by step, all aspects of a commercial case. The treatise, which has been cited in at least 45 law reviews, provides in-depth treatment of law, procedure and strategic concerns in commercial cases, as well as forms, checklists, jury charges and other invaluable practice aids. Its 144 principal authors are aptly described … as a ‘magnificent team of volunteer litigators and judges’ [who] have created this important work of lasting import. It belongs at-the-ready in the library of every New York commercial litigator.”

Similarly, the book review in the May/June 2012 issue of Law Notes, the Newsletter of the Saratoga County Bar Association, states: “The seven volumes are comprised of over one hundred individual articles written by some of the most highly skilled professionals in the world of commercial litigation, including commercial litigation attorneys from the state’s most prestigious firms, as well as judges from all levels of the New York State court system.…  The accessibility of the material is what makes Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts one of the best investments any attorney or firm can make.…  If your practice regularly concerns commercial litigation matters of any kind and you were to invest in only one treatise to have on your office shelf for regular consultation, Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts is thus a very worthy contender.”

Another review in the Spring 2012 issue of The Advocate, the quarterly Newsletter of the Dutchess County Bar Association, observes: “Most book reviews contain a paragraph or so of negative comment, just to keep it honest. I’ve looked hard for bases of negative comment. I just can’t find any. This treatise is a remarkable achievement that I heartily recommend for any of us who practice exclusively or otherwise in the area of commercial litigation.”

A review in the January 2012 issue of the Oneida County Bar Association Bar News states that “some 144 recognized legal authorities have contributed to the work to provide a comprehensive treatise on the subject” and that “the utility of this book for New York practitioners cannot be overstated. I know of no other work that provides such comprehensive coverage of the procedural and substantive commercial law of this state. The practitioner is provided with the law for both the starting point and for the end of commercial litigation in New York State and a first-rate analysis of everything in between.” 

The book review in the January 2012 issue of The Suffolk Lawyer concludes: “It is the opinion of this reviewer that the Third Edition of Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts is an indispensable resource which should be a part of every commercial litigator’s library. . . .  the many judges and lawyers who contributed to this great work are truly deserving of the thanks of the commercial litigation bar for providing us with a comprehensive, authoritative and eminently readable source of pertinent information and invaluable practical and strategic advice.”

The review in the January 2012 issue of the Westchester County Bar Association Newsletter states: “The original work and subsequent editions have become the leading treatise on commercial law in the State of New York and an important resource for commercial practitioners and members of the judiciary alike….  This is an absolute must read for litigators in general and commercial litigators in particular. It is a blueprint for effective representation of the client in the most cost effective and productive manner. In these few short lines allotted it is impossible to do justice to this terrific work. I trust that in some small way I have conveyed my excitement for the project and its significance to the advancement of commercial law in New York. In the final analysis, Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts, Third Edition, is an excellent treatise on the subject and a vital and important addition to the library of the Bench and Bar.”

The review in the Winter 2012 issue of the New York State Bar Association Trial Lawyers Section Digest begins by stating: “The Third Edition of the treatise Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts  is a must read for both new lawyers and seasoned trial attorneys.”  Similarly, the review in the Winter 2011 issue of the NYSBA Torts, Insurance & Compensation Law Section Journal states: “For commercial litigators at all levels, whether experienced or a newly admitted attorney, this treatise will be a valuable resource.”

Finally, a book review published in the Albany Law Review in 2012 states that the Third Edition “is an encyclopedic collection of 106 chapters written by 144 well-respected principal authors, including twenty judges of the federal and state courts, as well as a who’s who of New York’s commercial litigation bar.” The review concludes: “Suffice to say, the Third Edition of Commercial Litigation is the definitive reference work in its field. With its detailed analysis and discussion of civil procedure and substantive law, the host of well-integrated practice tools and its balanced focus, Commercial Litigation is, at its heart, the transmittal of hard-earned wisdom and perspective from a generation of our nation’s best commercial litigators and judges.”

More Information

More information about the Third Edition of Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts is available by calling Thomson Reuters at 1-800-344-5009 or online at