In this Essay, prepared as the basis for the 2014 Dunwody Distinguished Lecture in Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, Judge Cox discusses a few things he learned from his experience as a trial judge and later as an appellate judge. Specifically, he addresses how the proliferation of federal law—both criminal and civil—imposes a real burden on the federal courts. This proliferation has negatively affected pleading and pretrial procedures in the federal court system. Additionally, he discusses what lawyers can do about these pleading and pretrial problems.

Over the course of his career Judge Cox have seen drastic changes in litigation in the federal courts. Today, we often hear complaints about the high costs, inefficiency, abusive discovery, and complexity of litigation in the federal courts. It has not always been this way. These problems are not attributable to any one cause, but one of the most significant changes has been the expansion of both criminal law and civil law.