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The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, whatever criticisms we
might have of their details, have been a major triumph of law reform.
They have served for fifty years substantially intact, a statement that
can be made of few other pieces of major legislation in our era. They
have been adopted in a majority of the states and have been a principal
source of borrowing in states with strong traditions of autonomy in
matters of procedural law, notably California, Illinois, and New York.
Moreover, within almost every state, a procedure based on the Federal
Rules governs most types of civil litigation. Taking account of their use
in state courts, Federal Rules provisions thus apply to virtually every
type of contested civil case involving interests of substantial financial or
social significance. Indeed, the comprehensive scope of the Federal
Rules is now the basis of complaints against them.
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