Document Type

Working Paper

Repository Date



trials, legal philsophy

Subject Categories

Civil Procedure | Constitutional Law | Dispute Resolution and Arbitration | Evidence | Jurisprudence | Law | Law and Society | Legal Theory | Litigation


The number of trials continues to decline andfederal civil trials have almost completely disappeared. This essay attempts to address the significance of this loss, to answer the obvious question, "So what?" It argues against taking a resigned or complacent attitude toward an important problem for our public culture. It presents a short description of the trial's internal structure, recounts different sorts of explanations, and offers an inventory of the kinds of wounds this development would inflict.