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Selected Current and Recently Completed Research Projects

Listed below are selected current and recently completed studies by the Center’s Research Division. For a more complete list of Center research publications, click on Reports and Studies.

Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Federal District Courts

Update of the Center's 1996 report to include current district court's alternative dispute resolution (ADR) profiles and information regarding their ADR programs.

Bankruptcy Case Weights: 2020 Updates

Update to bankruptcy court case weights using data from CM/ECF and bankruptcy judge estimates of time expended on case events.

Bankruptcy Courtroom Technology

Develop a ‘best practices’ guide for bankruptcy judges when using technology to conduct bankruptcy hearings and trials, with a focus on teleconferencing and videoconferencing. The goal is to encourage the use of these technologies to promote access to the courts, make best use of existing judicial resources, and contain costs while maintaining the quality of court proceedings and compliance with the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence, and other legal authority.

Bankruptcy Noticing Distribution

Examination of the number of notices in bankruptcy cases that are sent via postal mail rather than electronically as it pertains to reducing mailing costs.

Bankruptcy Pro Se Data Visualization

Assist Bankruptcy Courts, per request, with its efforts to understand and better visualize their data for pro se and consumer bankruptcy cases.

Best Practices in Defense of Trade Secrets Act

As required by passage of Section 6 of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), the Center developed recommended 'best DTSA practices' regarding the seizure and securing of information and media-storing information following an ex parte seizure hearing in which an owner of a trade secret requests the seizure of property necessary to prevent the propagation or dissemination of the trade secret.

Certification of Questions of State Law

Examination as to whether there is available data on the number of certified questions of state law that are sent to the state courts.

Consumer Bankruptcy Issues

Exploration of various consumer bankruptcy-related issues, including choice of bankruptcy chapter given the means-test requirements and other pro se litigation-related issues.

Cost Containment: Shared Administrative Services

Design and administer a major comprehensive survey aimed at measuring the extent of shared administrative services, the reasons courts share, and any associated cost-savings and obstacles to implementing sharing arrangements.

Cost Containment: Vertical Consolidations

Develop and administer a survey to assess instances of consolidation of bankruptcy and district clerks’ offices within districts.

Demographic Survey of CJA Attorneys

Limited survey to generate data on the race and gender of CJA (Criminal Justice Act) Attorneys.

Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: Assistance to AOUSC in Response to a Congressional Mandate

Participate in the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC) Working Group to produce reports on the insolvency of financial institutions as required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and to help develop a database of information about bankruptcy cases involving institutions as debtors.

Effect of Opt-In Regulations on the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act

Report on the likely effect of the Department of Justice's opt-In Regulations under Chapter 154 of Title 28 (the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996) on the district courts in states with certified procedures.

Evaluation of Bankruptcy Judgeship Vacancy Pilot Program

Under the bankruptcy judgeship vacancy pilot program, one circuit will fill two vacant bankruptcy judgeships and transfer the appointed judges to districts in other circuits that have a high need for judicial resources. Evaluation will examine all phases of the program, from the implementation process to its final outcomes and impacts.

Evaluation of Pretrial Diversion Program

Provide evaluation-related assistance to the District of Arizona in its implementation of a post-guilty plea pretrial diversion program.

Evolution of U.S. Bankruptcy Law: A Timeline

Review and update of the FJC's 'Evolution of U.S. Bankruptcy Law' timeline pamphlet and poster.

Examination of Electronic Filing Deadline

Assist a special subcommittee to study whether the midnight (12:00 am) electronic filing deadlines for all the Rules of Procedure should be changed to 5:00 pm.

Federal and State Court Programs Addressing Implicit Bias

Assist the Center’s Education Division with 1) review of its educational programs on the topic of implicit and unconscious bias and 2) creation of a repository of implicit and unconscious bias materials and programs used and designed by the Division.

Federal-State Cooperation on Bankruptcy Issues

Update of the bankruptcy chapter in the Manual for Cooperation Between State and Federal Courts (1997).

FRCP Rule 42(a) Consolidated Case Study

Identify a universe of civil cases consolidated under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 42(a), to assist with a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 invitation in Hall vs. Hall to look at the operation of the rule.

Funding for Conversion of Temporary and New Bankruptcy Judgeships

Study to re-examine the feasibility of raising necessary revenue via an increased fee for Mega Chapter 11 cases.

Horizontal Consolidation Pilot and Evaluation

Develop procedures for piloting instances of consolidation/sharing of clerks’ offices (bankruptcy court with another bankruptcy court or district court with another district court).

Impact of Increased Chapter 11 Quarterly Fee

Examination of whether imposing increased fees in Chapter 11 cases with quarterly disbursements exceeding $1 million has a chilling effect on large Chapter 11 case filings and whether it precludes certain mid-to large-sized Chapter 11 debtors from successfully reorganizing.

Interlocutory Appeals - 28 USC 1292(b)

Expanded study on how many additional multidistrict litigation (MDL) interlocutory appeals would be generated if there was a rule providing for more interlocutory appeals of case-determinative MDL transferee court rulings.

Judicial Conference Recommendations Re the Criminal Justice Act

Studies on the implementation of the Judicial Conference's approved interim recommendations of the Cardone Committee (Report of the Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Criminal Justice Act) about the operation and administration of the Criminal Justice Act in the federal courts.

Juror Utilization Pilot Program

Assist with the design and evaluation of an alternative approach to measuring juror usage. Pilot program will be deployed in a select number of district courts.

Managing Federal Death Penalty Trials

Monitor best practices on managing federal death penalty trials and integrate new materials on and descriptions of these practices into the content of the Center's ‘Federal Death Penalty’ webpage.

Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project (MIDP) in Civil Cases

Pilot study with district courts regarding initial disclosures (Fed. R. Civ. P. 26) to help reduce costs and delays in civil litigation in the federal courts.

Multidistrict Litigation Judicial Interest Survey

Survey of district judges regarding their interest in serving as transferee judges for MDL cases.

Multidistrict Litigation Transferee Judges’ Exit Survey in Closed Proceedings

Short exit survey of multidistrict litigation (MDL) transferee judges upon completion of their MDL case duties.

National Security Case Studies: Special Case-Management Challenges

Development and preservation of resources for judges on litigation involving national security issues.

National Sentencing Policy Institute – 2020

Event planning for the 2020 National Sentencing Policy Institute. The program will focus on judge-involved supervision, other evidence-based supervision programs, as well as the recently enacted First Step Act

A New Judge's Introduction to Federal Judicial Administration

Update of the Center's 1982 publication Origins of the Elements of Federal Court Governance.

Patent Reform Act: Mandated 10-Year Pilot Study

A ten-year pilot study of patent case assignments in response to Pub. L. No. 111-349 mandate. Tentatively scheduled to conclude in 2021.

Performance Feedback for Court Unit Executives

Voluntary survey of court employees (Clerks of Courts and Chief Probation Officers) to obtain feedback for court unit executives.

Plaintiff Fact Sheets

Study and pocket guide for judges regarding the use of plaintiff fact sheets in multidistrict litigation proceedings.

Potential Harm Involving Government Cooperators in Federal Criminal Matters

Study of the nature, frequency and extent of threats and/or harm to individuals ('government cooperators') who cooperate with the government in federal criminal matters.

Representation Differences: Federal Public Defenders vs Criminal Justice Attorneys

Evaluation of the differences in representation costs and efficiencies between federal public defenders from capital habeas units (CHU) and criminal justice panel attorneys (CJA).

Resource Guide for Chief Circuit Judges’ Deskbooks

Update of the Center’s 2001 chief judges’ deskbook template for U.S. circuit courts to assist the circuits to create a deskbook for their respective chief judges.

Revision of Wire Tap Reporting Forms

Facilitation of regional focus groups for district, state and local courts regarding the reporting requirements of Chapter 119 of Title 18 USC (Wire and Electronic Communications Interception and Interception of Oral Communications) and options for amending AOUSC's wire tap reporting forms.

Rule 23(f) Petitions Re Permission to Appeal Class Certification Rulings

Study on the incidence and duration of Rule 23(f) appeals of district court rulings or orders granting or denying class-action certification.

Understanding the Implications of the Opioid Crisis

Development of a series of videos and interactive materials regarding the opioid crisis as an addition to the Center’s Scientific Evidence Resources special topics webpage.

Voluntary Judge Sharing Pilot Project Evaluation

Evaluate and analyze the experiences of the districts and judges who will participate in a three-year judge sharing pilot.

Voluntary Review Procedures for District and Magistrate Judges

Assist the District of Arizona with implementation and administration of its voluntary judicial performance program.