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OLR’s Greatest Hits: The History of the Practice Book

Had some friends over this weekend for a competitive game of “Apples to Apples.”  Prior to their arrival, I made some popcorn – not the microwave kind. You see, I have an elaborate popcorn popper machine.

One of our guests says “hey, where did you get that totally cool, way awesome popcorn popper.”

My answer: Westlaw. You see in law school, you can earn West points for doing nothing more than logging into Westlaw for free. Accumulate enough points and you can buy things like popcorn poppers.

Once you become a lawyer – west points no longer exist. Also, Westlaw is no longer free.

Westlaw’s not stupid. They spent 3 years training my brain to have a positive response every time I log in which is reinforced every time I use my sweet popcorn maker.

Their spell is starting to wear off. No matter what the issue, I used to begin my research on Westlaw but no longer.

The CT web is full of great resources and one of the best is OLR’s website. OLR’s primary job is to inform the legislature on issues but they publish their research on the internet.

Yesterday, Attorney Daniel Schwartz from CT Employment Law Blog, sent me a DM via Twitter about a possible blog entry on this OLR Report by Jillian L. Redding. Cool stuff.

CGS § 51-14(b) directs that all statutes relating to pleading, practice, and procedure in existence on July 1, 1957 be deemed to be rules of court and remain in effect as rules only until modified, superseded, or suspended by rules adopted and promulgated by the judges of the Supreme Court or the Superior Court…..

This statute, which was initially adopted in 1953, has been amended a few times but none of the amendments have altered its requirements or procedures in any significant way.

Based on our examination of the 1963 Connecticut Practice Book, it appears that 103 court rules had as their origin statutes in existence in 1957. We were able to identify 44 of these rules that have been amended or repealed since then. Many have been amended more than once. We found 67 instances of one of these rules being substantively changed or repealed.

With 103 of our practice book rules having their origins in statutes in existence in 1957 it’s clear that the Practice book has deep roots in the practice of law in Connecticut.

I use the practice book everyday and have never stopped to consider its origins or the interplay between the legislature and the judicial branch in shaping its rules.

Also, a huge tip of the hat to Attorney Daniel Schwartz who was appropriately mentioned in this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web Column for his timely work on the AIG bonus issue.


Connecticut Trial Firm, LLC

Connecticut Trial Firm, LLC