Book Review on Haig’s Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts

Reviewed by Mark J. Moretti, Esq. and Alissa M. Fortuna-Valentine, Esq.


After the Third Edition of Robert L. Haig’s Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts treatise added thirty-four new chapters on topics like internal investigations, consumer protection and money laundering to the series, it seemed there was not much subject matter left to cover in future editions.  But Haig has outdone himself again – adding twenty-five new chapters to the Fourth Edition of Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts.  Now spanning fourteen volumes, the Fourth Edition, published in 2016, covers a wide range of new topics, from civil justice reform to declaratory judgments, regulatory litigation to fashion and retail.

The Fourth Edition is truly timely, addressing the needs of a commercial litigator in an ever-changing, modern world.  Reflecting the rapid shift toward a global economy, the Fourth Edition includes more coverage on international topics – international trade and cross-border litigation.  For example, Chapter 22 on cross-border litigation discusses forum selection considerations, including the various advantages and disadvantages of litigating in venues like London, Paris, Hong King, Singapore and Switzerland, and provides guidance on managing discovery before foreign courts and collecting foreign evidence.  Chapter 136 on international trade examines the intricate nature of practice before the U.S. Department of Commerce, the International Trade Commission, and the U.S. Court of International Trade, in addition to covering potential state and federal law claims that may be asserted for international trade violations.  Both Chapter 22 on cross-border litigation and Chapter 136 on international trade perfectly supplement related topics from the Third Edition, such as international arbitration, and topics such as immigration, from previous editions.

Reflecting the growing importance and prevalence of social media in the commercial litigator’s practice, the Fourth Edition adds a chapter on social media, complementing its established chapters on document discovery, discovery strategy and privileges, evidence and jury selection.

In addition to its coverage of new and relevant topics facing the modern commercial litigator, the Fourth Edition also adds foundational topics relevant to young and well-seasoned commercial litigators alike, such as marketing to potential business clients and teaching litigation skills.  Chapter 70, “Marketing to Potential Business Clients,” contains critical insights for young commercial litigators, as it provides practical guidance on visibility strategies and methods of communication in marketing – subjects that are not covered by most law schools.  On the other hand, Chapter 71, “Teaching Litigation Skills,” discusses how seasoned commercial litigators can better coach, influence and mold young litigators in areas like oral and written advocacy, fact gathering and factual mastery, emotional intelligence, and credibility.

Importantly, what has not changed through the various editions of Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts is Haig’s ample, yet streamlined coverage of both essential and weighty topics, and provision of practice aids, practical advice and strategic considerations on each topic.  For example, volumes four and five of the treatise, which cover trial practice, can still be used as a refresher on discrete topics for an experienced litigator’s upcoming trial, or as a trial guide for a new litigator’s first trial.

Ultimately, with the Fourth Edition of Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, commercial litigators have a truly comprehensive guide to practice in Federal Court, and an indispensable tool for winning cases – making it the perfect addition to any library.

Mark J. Moretti is a partner at Phillips Lytle LLP, the current President of the Monroe County Bar Association, and a former Chairman of the Trial Lawyers Section of the NYSBA.  Alissa M. Fortuna-Valentine is an associate at Phillips Lytle LLP.







Authored by Mark J. Moretti and Chad Flansburg of Phillips Lytle LLP

While legal professionals are well familiar with the aphorism, “less is more,” with the publication of Robert L. Haig’s Fourth Edition of Commercial Litigation in New York, more is undoubtedly better.  Building on the first three editions, published in 1995, 2005, and 2010, respectively, the Fourth Edition of Commercial Litigation in New York has grown into an encyclopedic collection of 127 chapters written by 182 principal authors, including 29 distinguished judges of the federal and state courts, as well as a who’s who of New York’s commercial litigation bar.  The Fourth Edition contains eight volumes (there were six volumes in the third edition).  Notably, twenty-two new chapters have been added in the Fourth Edition.  The following is a list of some of these new chapter titles: Internal Investigations; Mediation and Other Nonbinding ADR; International Arbitration; Social Media; Land Use Regulation; and Commercial Leasing.  In addition, the chapters carried forward from the Third Edition have been substantially expanded.

Commercial Litigation in New York provides in-depth treatment of practice and procedure in New York State courts, together with the substantive law most commonly encountered by commercial litigators. For example, the treatise contains 53 substantive law chapters, including contracts, insurance, sale of goods, banking, intellectual property, business torts, and many more commercial law topics.  This treatise is well organized and the chapters contain useful strategies, practice guides, checklists, sample forms, and jury charges.  All of which are contained on a CD-ROM that comes with the treatise, as does a separate Appendix (to be replaced annually) containing a table of laws and rules, table of cases, and an index.  Commercial Litigation in New York is organized to follow the life of a commercial case throughout its ligation, and then turns to substantive topics. These features make this treatise not only a valuable research tool, but a book filed with helpful practice wisdom and perspective that is only gained by years of experience in handling commercial cases.

The fact that this treatise is intended to be utilized as a practical aid in every day practice, rather than being an academic treatise is immediately apparent.  For example, Chapter 48 (Compensatory Damages) contains a detailed discussion of the various forms of compensatory damages recoverable in actions for breach of contract, including expectancy damages, reliance damages, and restitution.  The treatise also provides a unique discussion on the many ethical issues involved in commercial litigation, including chapters entitled ethical issues in commercial cases (Chapter 70) and civility (Chapter 71).  Another example of the significant practice aid offered by the treatise is Chapter 44 (Graphics and Other Demonstrative Evidence), which provides a wonderful overview regarding use and the foundational prerequisites for these often underutilized exhibits.

These few examples are only a sampling of what awaits the commercial litigator that turns to this edition.  It is hard to imagine anyone litigating in the Commercial Division without first consulting and seeking assistance from Commercial Litigation in New York.  In sum, this treatise is a must have for both experienced and new commercial litigators.  It provides a very thorough and detailed analysis on substantive and procedural aspects of New York commercial law.