Legal Docket – The Decline of Courtroom Litigation
Consulting Counsel Robert Katzberg was interviewed on the podcast The World and Everything in It about the decrease in courtroom litigation as discussed in his new book, The Vanishing Trial: The Era of Courtroom Performers and the Perils of Its Passing. Mr. Katzberg explained that this trend began in the 1980s as the rise of the "lock 'em up" mentality led to increased incarceration and the introduction of federal sentencing guidelines led to increased risks of going to trial. As a result, there are fewer trials, which means fewer job opportunities for trial lawyers and fewer visible opportunities for those considering entering the legal profession.
This vicious circle has profound consequences for the justice system, according to Mr. Katzberg. A lack of trial lawyers and jury trials means that "the average citizen, the juror who's supposed to be playing a crucial part in the administration of justice, has been frozen out of federal court," effectively eliminating one of the two ways in which citizens can exercise power in a way the government cannot. In the podcast, Mr. Katzberg talks about this situation, drawing on his own experience as a federal prosecutor in New York along and elaborating on points made throughout his book.