NYCLA Federal Courts Committee Comments on Proposed Changes to EDNY-SDNY Joint Local Rules


NYCLA Federal Courts Committee Comments on Proposed Changes to EDNY-SDNY Joint Local Rules

Statements & Letters
Written by: NYCLA Federal Courts Committee Co-Chairs, Michael B Eisenkraft and Scott B. Klugman
Published On: Jan 04, 2024

The New York County Lawyers Association (“NYCLA”) supports the passage of the Proposed Changes to the EDNY-SDNY Joint Local Rules. Preliminarily, NYCLA would like to thank the judges of the Eastern and Southern Districts, Clerks of Court, members of the bar and representatives from local, state, and federal agencies who spent many thoughtful hours on this process – the care and time they spent is evidenced by the Proposed Changes, in which every word and punctuation mark has been deliberately selected. NYCLA would also like to express its appreciation to the Judges of the Eastern and Southern Districts for making this rulemaking process inclusive and for expending resources on modernizing their local rules. While modernization changes of this type may seem quotidian or pedestrian, they – when done well as these are – increase access to justice, maintain fairness amongst participants in the legal system, and increase efficiency – all goals of transcendent importance.

Reviewing the proposed changes, NYCLA noticed a few themes – all of which we support: (1) streamlining and modernizing language which NYCLA believes will make the Rules easier to understand and thus increase access to justice, (2) harmonization of Local Rules from the Southern and Eastern Districts, which NYCLA believes will increase efficiency and decrease confusion, and (3) the recognition that certain practice areas have needs that are distinct from general practices and the accommodation of those needs within the Local Rules by exempting certain practice areas from certain requirements.

In particular, NYCLA would like to highlight a few of the proposed changes and discuss the benefits we believe they will bring.

The Proposed Changes to Local Civil Rule 1.5, which expands the Committee of Grievances to explicitly include Magistrate Judges. The Southern and Eastern Districts are fortunate to have excellent Magistrate Judges and the Committee of Grievances will be served well by increasing the available pool of members.

The Proposed Changes to Local Civil Rule 6.3 and Local Criminal Rule 49.1(b) which imposes default page limitations on Motions for Reconsideration. NYCLA believes that briefing on motions for reconsideration, which are granted only in rare circumstances, should be streamlined and that these page limits will discourage parties from simply resubmitting and recycling previously submitted briefs.

The Proposed Changes to Local Civil Rule 15.1 which requires the submission of red or black lined copies of proposed amendments to a pleading along with a motion to amend. This has long been recognized as a best practice by attorneys and mandated by the Individual Rules of many judges within the Southern and Eastern District, so it is gratifying to see it uniformly adopted.

Local Civil Rule 30.1: The elimination of Local Civil Rule 30.1 which provided for fees – including counsel fees –for taking depositions more than 100 miles from the courthouse. This archaic rule – almost never invoked, much less enforced – has even less applicability in a world where remote depositions are part of the normal landscape. Its elimination is welcome.

Local Civil Rule 87.1 and Local Criminal Rule 62.1: These new provisions provide for the Chief Judge to issue orders compatible with a Civil or Criminal Rules Emergency declared by the Judicial Conference, but sunsets those orders upon the cessation of the emergency. In the wake of COVID, NYCLA believes this provides the proper balance between dealing with exigent circumstances and maintaining orderly procedures.

About the New York County Lawyers Association

The New York County Lawyers Association ( was founded in 1908 as one of the first major bar associations in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, or gender. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.

These comments have been approved by NYCLA’s Federal Courts Committee and approved for submission by NYCLA’s President. They have not been reviewed by NYCLA’s Executive Committee and do not necessarily represent the views of its Board.