Richard Mills

Publication Date


Document Type

Survey Article


The formula for success in trial practice is simple: Be prepared, be decent, and be on time.

There are ninety-four district courts in the United States. Twenty-four states have two or more districts; for example, Illinois and Georgia have three. Twenty-six states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, are single districts. And in all of those ninety-four districts over the last thirty years, the civil cases have tripled! In my district we have quadrupled our caseload in that same time frame. In the last five years alone, we have had a 58.7% increase in the district courts. That is an average of 520 cases per judge across the country. The contract disputes involving the government have doubled; the contract disputes between private parties have more than doubled; the personal injury lawsuits have risen more than forty-five percent since 1980; and complaints by federal prisoners have risen from more than thirty-five percent in that same seven-year span.