Bankruptcy professionals and the public rarely get a chance to read a judge’s own research binder. Fortunately, however, Chief Judge Randall J. Newsome of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California has made his very helpful 348-page research binder available on the Court’s website. Follow the links in this sentence to access the entire binder in pdf format and this HTML version organized by topic. I’ve found the binder to be an excellent way to identify leading cases on a particular topic quickly. The pdf version can also be searched using a key word or phrase. 

Updated as of February 8, 2008, and covering cases through Volume 378 of Bankruptcy Reports, the research binder collects a vast range of cases on business bankruptcy and other topics under the Bankruptcy Code and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. Chief Judge Newsome presides in the Northern District of California so the primary focus of the research binder is on Ninth Circuit law, but some out-of-circuit law is listed as well.

Chief Judge Newsome’s disclaimer puts this helpful tool’s function in perspective:

The following list of cases and supplemental information is presented for informational and educational purposes only. Though it represents the aggregation of 19 years of research, the Court makes no claims as to its current level of accuracy. Some of the cases set forth may very well have been superseded, reversed, or otherwise may no longer be good law. The Court has posted it with the intention to educate and assist those who may find it helpful. Accordingly, users should consider it a first, but by no means final, research tool, and should cite check all cases listed herein for continued viability prior to relying on such cases in practice.

With those caveats in mind, it can be a great place to start when researching bankruptcy law issues in Ninth Circuit.