The Only New York State Commercial Litigation Book Gets a New Edition

By Christian Nolan

March 2, 2021

The Only New York State Commercial Litigation Book Gets a New Edition


By Christian Nolan

The only book on commercial litigation in the New York State Courts is back. This time, the Fifth Edition of Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts features two new volumes, 28 new chapters and 2,888 more pages than the previous Fourth Edition.

Robert L. Haig, partner at Kelley Drye & Warren in New York City, once again serves as editor-in-chief. Haig, the founder and first chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Commercial and Federal Litigation Section and also a past NYSBA Executive Committee member, has reviewed and commented on every chapter in all five editions as well as the Pocket Parts.

Like its predecessors, published periodically since its inception in 1995, the Fifth Edition analyzes both New York procedural law and substantive commercial law and then explores strategies designed to produce a favorable outcome by utilizing both.

“This is not only a law book that is valuable as a research tool and a source of legal knowledge and citations, it is an idea book filled with nuggets of wisdom and perspective that could only have been gained by years of experience in handling cases from the most simple to the most complex,” Haig writes in the book’s foreword.

The Fifth Edition contains 64 substantive law chapters that cover the subjects common to commercial litigation, including contracts, insurance, sale of goods, banking, securities, antitrust, intellectual property, professional liability, business torts and franchising. Compensatory and punitive damages and other remedies are also covered, along with alternative dispute resolution, which has separate chapters on settlements, negotiations, mediation and other nonbinding ADR, arbitration and international arbitration.

Additional chapters address the business of litigation practice, such as marketing to potential business clients, third-party litigation funding, litigation management by law firms and corporations, and litigation avoidance and prevention. Professional growth and development of commercial litigators is also addressed with chapters on career and practice development, teaching litigation skills, pro bono, and diversity and inclusion.

Among the 28 new chapters in the Fifth Edition are several topics that have become dramatically more important in recent years, according to Haig in the foreword, including artificial intelligence, attorney discipline, civil justice reform, cross-border litigation, deceptive and misleading business practices, gaming, joint ventures, limited liability companies and valuation of businesses and real property.

The treatise has 256 principal authors, including 29 distinguished judges and commercial litigators at the top of their profession. Carrying on the tradition from prior editions, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore penned the first chapter. The late Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman wrote the first chapter in the First, Second, Third and Fourth Editions.

Court of Appeals Judges Eugene M. Fahey, Victoria A. Graffeo and Robert S. Smith, as well as Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks, are among the many other noteworthy judges contributing their insights as authors.

Haig explains in the foreword that the various authors’ work on the book was largely done during the coronavirus pandemic, but that quality was in no way compromised; in fact, it had the opposite effect.

“Because most court operations in New York State were suspended during much of the period our authors were working on their chapters, they had more time to devote to their chapters and their chapters reflect that additional time,” wrote Haig. “I am profoundly grateful for the fact that our authors have been willing to devote their extra time to making what was already a superb treatise even better.”

Haig also noted that a conservative estimate from the authors and their law firms is that they have invested more than $60 million of their own billable time, calculated at their regular hourly billing rates, in working on the First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth editions of this treatise and its annual Pocket Parts.

The publication of these five editions has been a joint venture between Thomson Reuters and the New York County Lawyers Association with all royalties from the sales of this treatise and its annual Pocket Parts going to NYCLA. For those not interested in the print version, the entire series is available on Westlaw.

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