Last time, we looked at the data from civil cases for the average lag time from the end of briefing – whether that’s the appellant’s reply brief or (much more often in civil cases) an amicus or supplemental brief – to oral argument. But what does the lag time look like if we measure the lag time from the reply brief, whether or not there are amicus briefs, to the oral argument? Is there a correlation between that measure of lag time and the result?

In 1990, the average civil case took nearly a year from the reply brief to oral argument – 345.79 days. That fell to 294.34 days in 1991 to 278.81 days in 1992 and was almost stationary for the five years that followed: 222.43 (1993), 223.39 (1994), 222.18 (1995), 215.42 (1996) and 208.98 (1997). In 1998, an average of 246.7 days passed from the end of party briefing to oral argument. In 1999, the average rose to 301.3 days.

The lag time from party briefing to oral argument increased steadily from 2000 to 2009: 347.04 (2000), 308.7 (2001), 287.56 (2002), 308.61 (2003), 357.04 (2004) 388.2 (2005), 387.81 (2006), 404.2 (2007), 416.75 (2008) and 403.5 days in 2009.

Although the lag time from the reply brief to oral argument has dropped several times in the past decade, the decreases haven’t been steady. In 2010, 408.12 days passed from reply brief to argument. In 2011, that was down to 323.58 days, but in 2012, it was up to 478.62. In 2013, the lag time was 385.78 days. In 2014, it was up to 433.3 days. In 2015, the lag time rose to 461.72 days. In 2016, it rose to 497.54 days. In 2017, the lag time was 454.98 days. In 2018, it rose to 489.09 days. So far in 2019, an average of 398.1 days passes from reply brief to oral argument.

Join us back here next time as we divide these data points by the result of cases.

Image courtesy of Flickr by John Liu (no changes).