Heather Nevitt. Editor-in-Chief of Texas Lawyer magazine.

Ah, February—the month of Cupid, President’s Day, a short 28 day month (for the most part) and … the Slowpoke Report.

Yes, here at Texas Lawyer it is that time of year that senior reporter John Council takes a look at the caseload and case backlog of Texas Federal judges. But more importantly, he looks into the reason for the backlog for each judge on the list.

Pursuant to the Civil Justice Reform Act of 1990, each year U.S. district judges and U.S. magistrate judges must disclose the number of civil cases pending in their courts for more than three years and the number of civil motions pending in their courts for more than six months. As John reports, most judges ideally like to keep those numbers below 10 in both categories. So every year, we check on how things are going on Texas’ federal benches.

To be fair, there are usually extraneous circumstances leading to these higher than ideal numbers, and this year is no exception. The existence of massive worldwide litigation (you guessed it, Stanford) and, as we have reported in many past Slowpoke Reports, the albatross of judicial vacancies also plays a huge part. And because of issues like these, and others, some regulars grace the list.

However, this year we have some first-timers mentioned on the report. Judges that have never had been part of the list in the two decades of Slowpoke Report coverage. In many cases, these judges are working day and night treading water to keep their busy dockets afloat. And we also know, life happens. So we hope, as they do, that the floodwaters recede a bit in 2018 and next year’s report isn’t another Groundhog Day for these judges.

Heather D. Nevitt, Esq. hnevitt@alm.com