Civil Justice Reconsidered

Toward a Less Costly, More Accessible Litigation System

304 pages

August, 2017

ISBN: 9781479855001



Add to Cart Available: 7/28/2017

Also available in




Steven P. Croley is a partner with Latham & Watkins.  He served in President Obama's Administration on the Domestic Policy Council, as Deputy White House Counsel in the Office of White House Counsel, and as the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Energy.  In 2010 he was named the Hutchins Colleagiate Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School, where he began his legal career.  He previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan, and has represented individual clients as well. 

All books by Steven P. Croley

Prosecutes the civil litigation system and proposes practical reforms to increase access to the courts and reduce costs.

Civil litigation has come under fire in recent years. Some critics portray a system of dishonest lawyers and undeserving litigants who prevail too often, and are awarded too much money. Others criticize the civil justice system for being out of reach for many who have suffered real injury. But contrary to these perspectives and popular belief, the civil justice system in the United States is not out of control.

In Civil Justice Reconsidered, Steven Croley demonstrates that civil litigation is, for the most part, socially beneficial. An effective civil litigation system is accessible to parties who have suffered legal wrongs, and it is reliable in the sense that those with stronger claims tend to prevail over those with weaker claims. However, while most of the system’s failures are overstated, they are not wholly off base; civil litigation often imposes excessive costs that, among other unfortunate consequences, impede access to the courts, and Croley offers ways to reform civil litigation in the interest of justice for potential plaintiffs and defendants, and for the rule of law itself.

A better litigation system matters only because of what is at stake for real people, and Civil Justice Reconsidered speaks to the thought leaders, litigation reformers, members of the bar and bench, and policymakers who can answer the call for reforming civil litigation in the United States. 


  • “Croley systematizes the fruits of the ongoing debate in a way that teachers will find useful.”


  • "Few topics in American law are more significant or contentious than civil litigation in state and federal courts. In this readable, insightful, and timely work,  Steven Croley draws on his unique experience as one of the country's most distinguished scholar-practitioners of civil procedure and administrative law to explore the important role that the civil litigation system plays in American life -- along with the limitations and competing concerns that remain to be addressed."

    —Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Stanley Morrison Professor of Law and (by courtesy) of Political Science, Stanford University

  • "This is an important book on an important subject. Steven Croley effectively demonstrates that our civil justice system too often fails to deliver true justice to those who need it most. His searching analysis identifies the problems, reframes the solutions,  and shows why they should be social priorities."

    —Deborah Rhode, McFarland Professor of Law and Director of the Center on the Legal Profession, Stanford

  • "Civil Justice Reconsidered is a cogent and readable analysis why every American should be concerned about his or her right to a day in court and offers several thoughtful possible remedies for some of the deficiencies in today’s civil justice system."

    —Arthur R. Miller, University Professor, NYU Law School