Where the decisions significant? Well they certainly were to the parties. Some of the members of our group have discussed what constitutes a significant case. Before 2007, the court could designate a case for publication or, not for publication. If the case was designated is not for publication it could not be used as legal authority. There was a certain amount of opposition to this practice. For that reason the Arkansas appellate courts system no longer issues unpublished decisions. All decisions are published on its website and given a unique identifier so that they may be referred to and cited for any legal propositions found in the case.
That does not mean that every single case will be significant. There will be cases that simply repeat or apply the findings and conclusions of previous cases. Nevertheless, as lawyers we like to keep up with what the courts are doing so that we can follow trends and try to anticipate what will be happening next.
Two of our members, Robert Tschiemer and Gerry Schulze, recently spoke at a continuing legal education program for the Arkansas Bar Association. Our task was to select the most significant cases of the last year and talk about how they would impact the law and the legal system. We feel like the presentation was a success.
As the courts return to publishing decisions, we recommend that lawyers keep up to date with the changes in the law. We believe that our weekly sessions are beneficial to lawyers trying to keep up with the times. As always we are looking for additional legal professionals with different points of view to join our group and meet with us.