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Beloved Federal Practice Manual Now Free on NCLC Digital Library

Important news for federal court litigators representing low-income and disadvantaged clients:

  •  An advance copy of a revised edition of the much-beloved Federal Practice Manual for Legal Aid Attorneys is now available.
  • Access presently is free and with no obligation.
  • Free access is via the NCLC Digital Library and includes robust digital tools and search.

Why the Federal Practice Manual for Legal Aid Attorneys  Is So Beloved

The practice manual has a decades-long track record as a critical reference source on federal litigation practice oriented to the needs of legal aid and public interest lawyers. This classic volume was first published by the Legal Services Corporation and later by the Shriver Center on Poverty Law. This new revised edition is released by the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ) with contributions from 29 experienced federal court litigators from around the country, employed at a variety of organizations—legal aid, other nonprofits, and law schools.  

Each submission was reviewed and edited by Greg Bass, a senior NCLEJ attorney with over 40 years of experience litigating in federal courts. As an advance version still undergoing additional updates, access is free and with no obligation.

Topics Addressed in the Federal Practice Manual  for Legal Aid Attorneys

NCLEJ’s Federal Practice Manual for Legal Aid Attorneys guides legal aid and public interest lawyers through all stages of federal litigation. This is a highly practical manual, covering strategic factors to consider in preparing a federal court lawsuit, litigation tactics, practice tips for both novice and seasoned practitioners, and advice on overcoming barriers to meeting constitutional and statutory federal jurisdictional requirements. The manual covers such topics as:

  • Interviewing clients and preparing the lawsuit;
  • Drafting pleadings;
  • Federal court jurisdiction;
  • Section 1983 elements and requirements of related federal statutes;
  • Enforcing federal rights against states and state officials, local governments;
  • Responding to motions to dismiss and overcoming jurisdictional hurdles;
  • Engaging in written discovery and depositions;
  • Pretrial motions practice;
  • Class action advocacy;
  • Trial and appellate advocacy;
  • Negotiating settlements and enforcing consent decrees;
  • Obtaining relief, including damages, declaratory judgments, and attorney fees and costs.

View the complete and expandable table of contents here [a free login is required to see the actual text, as explained infra].

Access to the Advance Copy Is Free and with No Obligation

Because NCLEJ is reintroducing this critical resource to those representing low-income and disadvantaged clients, and because certain sections are still undergoing updating, access is now free and comes with no obligation of any kind.  In the future, NCLEJ will announce that access requires an affirmative opt-in to a paid subscription.

For immediate, free digital access, simply visit the NCLC Digital Library bookstore, and add the title to your library.  Adding the Federal Practice Manual to your library allows you to take full advantage of all the NCLC Digital Library’s features, including private annotations, emailing sections, bookmarks, recently viewed pages, and related features.

Existing subscribers to the National Housing Law Project’s HUD Housing Programs: Tenants’ Rights (The Green Book) or to any of NCLC’s titles simply login at checkout.  Others will need to provide basic contact information. No credit card information is requested. Access remains free to this advance version until further notice.  Return at any time to view the manual by logging on at

Powerful Digital Features in Utilizing NCLEJ’s Federal Practice Manual for Legal Aid Attorneys

Because of the importance of this revised manual to the legal aid and public interest community, NCLC is thrilled to add NCLEJ’s title to the NCLC Digital Library.  Already on the NCLC Digital Library are the NHLP’s revered publication and 23 titles from NCLC.

Titles on the NCLC Digital Library all offer these powerful digital tools:

  • Powerful searches;
  • Download and email sections;
  • Annotate pages;
  • Create bookmarks and organize bookmarks into different collections for each case;
  • Read text and footnotes side-by-side;
  • Instantaneous scrolling from page to page;
  • Easy navigation with an expandable table of contents;
  • Links to related sections.

For more on the tools available on the NCLC Digital Library, see our Quick Start Guide

Other “Non-Consumer” NCLC Digital Library Titles for Legal Aid and Public Interest Attorneys

NCLC treatises are universally regarded as the bibles of consumer law.  But the NCLC Digital Library also contains other titles for legal aid and public interest attorneys litigating in areas outside of consumer law, including:

  • The National Housing Law Project’s HUD Housing Programs: Tenants’ Rights (The Green Book) is the quintessential guide to understanding HUD’s housing programs. The Green Book’s treasury of information is the product of over 50 years of legal experience specifically focused on HUD housing law, decades of successful high-impact litigation, and a deep understanding of intricate federal housing policy.
  • NCLC’s Consumer Arbitration Agreements is an indispensable resource for any case being forced into arbitration, including cases involving employment and other individual rights—how to challenge the arbitration requirement’s enforceability and how to use arbitration to obtain relief.
  • NCLC’s Consumer Class Actions is a highly practical manual providing step-by-step guidance for consumer or non-consumer class actions, with contributions by over 20 experienced class action litigators from around the country and a unique state-by-state analysis of both state court class action rules and state court standing requirements.
  • NCLC’s Fair Credit Reporting is not just about credit applications.  Background screening, criminal records reports, and regular credit reports have significant implications involving landlord-tenant, employment, insurance, utilities, and mortgages.  The treatise for over 40 years has been the definitive resource on all consumer reporting issues.
  • NCLC’s Consumer Banking and Payments Law examines an all-encompassing aspect of modern life—how money is paid and received, including EBT, federal benefit payments, payroll cards, prepaid cards, Venmo and other new payment devices, direct deposits, wires, and rights concerning checks and funds deposited in a bank account.
  • NCLC’s Instant Evidenceis an essential practice tool for federal (and even state) court litigation, facilitating objection by rule number, and including common objections and motions at every stage of a case—all in only 27 pages! Instant Evidence is spiral bound to lay flat and laminated to hold up during constant use. Create different notations or highlights for each trial with the included dry-erase pen. [Instant Evidence is not available in digital format.]

Visit the NCLC Digital Library bookstore to view all other available titles, including:

  • Both a two-volume treatise and a beginner’s step-by-step guide to individual bankruptcies;
  • Definitive treatises on debt collection harassment, collection lawsuits, repossessions, and utility terminations;
  • Rights of student loan debtors;
  • Three separate volumes covering all forms of home foreclosures, mortgage servicing, and mortgage originations;
  • All aspects of consumer credit—interest rates, terms, and interest caps, credit discrimination, truth in lending, and credit reporting;
  • Marketplace misconduct remedies, including unfair and deceptive practices statutes, federal deception law, remedies for robocalls, automobile fraud statutes, and consumer and home warranty law;
  • Thousands of bonus materials—sample pleadings and discovery, practice tools, primary sources, all searchable by keywords and filters.