Seventh Circuit Review


The Seventh Circuit has a reputation for being harshly critical of attorneys who fail to follow the court’s procedural rules. Whether by sanction, written opinion, or oral rebuke, the attorney who fails to abide by the court’s rules can be sure of some disciplinary action. In Smoot v. Mazda Motors, the court asked whether the judges responsible for the strict enforcement of these rules are simply being “fusspots and nitpickers.”

This Note will address the court’s question through an empirical survey of the manner and frequency by which attorneys are disciplined for failing to follow the court’s rules. The Seventh Circuit’s propensity to sanction attorneys for their behavior will be compared to that of the U.S. Courts of Appeals as a whole. Additionally, the Note will explore potential statistically significant correlations between the quantity of sanctions and the make-up of each of the U.S. Courts of Appeals.

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