The 5 Most Important Developments in Federal Civil Practice in 2011

1. Class Actions: The Supreme Court's decision in Wal-Mart and its ramifications for (a) commonality determinations and (b) the application of Daubert at class certification (on which there is already a Circuit split).

2. Evidence: The restyled Federal Rules of Evidence, particularly Rule 101(b) (Definitions) and its impact on the self-authentication of non-governmental internet evidence.

3. Regulatory Settlements: United States District Judge Jed S. Rakoff's challenge to the business-as-usual approach to regulatory settlements.

4. Removal: Continuing momentum toward the later-served-defendant interpretation of 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b) (there is still a Circuit split).

5. Ethics: The Second Circuit's holding that it may be ethically permissible for a lawyer to ghostwrite a court paper for a pro se litigant (and its ramifications for sanctions jurisprudence).

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