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For a long, long while, we've wondered what was up with the Fifth Circuit's longstanding vacancies. In fact, just last week, I was speculating about the cause of the vacancies (a Democratic president versus two Republican senators) on FindLaw's Strategist blog. Looks like I'm not the only one wondering what's up: A blog post on the Thomson Reuters Legal Solutions blog goes into detail on the vacancies, as well as possible upcoming vacancies that could drastically change the court.

And speaking of change, the Clerk's Office at the Fifth Circuit has announced that starting this Wednesday, there will be none -- exact change is required for cash payments. I thought the announcement and new policy were pretty hilarious and inconvenient, but then the court, responding to jokes at its expense, explained the really good reason behind the change regarding change.

And then there were two (vacancies).

Congratulations to Judge Gregg Jeffrey Costa, who, yesterday, moved from the district court bench to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals after a unanimous confirmation. The filled seat leaves two more vacancies, one from mid-2012, the other from the end of last year, on the Fifth Circuit bench.

Who is this new, and highly uncontroversial judge? Read on, local practitioners:

Volume practices get a bad rap. People assume that just because you move a lot of clients' cases through the system, that you are doing a lesser job on the cases.

Bollocks. Moving a case quickly, or more accurately, efficiently from intake to completion is good for you (because it frees up time for more clients) and great for your client (fewer billable hours, obviously).

Of course, efficiency and volume have to be balanced with diligence, ethics, and customer service. Fortunately, we've got a few resources that can help.

A Texas judge moved closer to a spot on the Fifth Circuit bench after appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Judge Gregg Costa fielded questions from both sides of the aisle during his nomination hearing in the Committee, with little pushback from either side, The Dallas Morning News reports.

With little political friction, is Costa set to become the next Fifth Circuit Judge?

BP is still fighting with Gulf business owners over the billions businesses feel are owed under the Deepwater Horizon settlement, but the Fifth Circuit may have given BP a wakeup call with a small typo.

On Thursday night, in response to plaintiffs' motion to dismiss BP's request for an en banc rehearing of the settlement issues, the Court mistakenly issued this order -- granting the motion.

Another order quickly filed on Friday vacated the mistaken order, but how did the mix-up happen?

Texas Supreme Court Joins Twitter

In a move that may be emulated by other states' High Courts, the Texas Supreme Court launched its very own Twitter account to tweet its orders.

Debuting in February, the Lone Star State's highest court is available @SupremeCourt_TX, manned by the Texas Supreme Court Clerk's office, Texas Lawyer reported.

What hijinks can we expect from this new Twitter account?

In an attempt to make life easier for its clerks and judges, the Fifth Circuit has started to insert hyperlinks for citations in its decisions.

Three opinions published since Friday, including an immigration case we covered in our last post, have been updated with shiny blue links for each citation.

But do these links actually work?

So you plan on going into the Fifth Circuit for the first time, and you're psyched. It may be an exciting moment for new attorneys or even veteran litigators, but you need to take care of some business before you arrive.

Show up at the Fifth Circuit prepared by completing these three to-do's.

This is the first full week of 2014, and the Fifth Circuit is already prepping to pump some new blood into its workforce.

If you have at least a high school education, or you're plain curious about what working for the Fifth Circuit might be like, read on!

The Fifth Circuit begins hearing cases again on January 6, 2014, and the court is ready to start the new year with a bang.

Here are three cases still active in 2014 that should not be overlooked: