INTRODUCTION There can be little question that, at least in the federal courts, trials are vanishing. The statistics make this conclusion inescapable. (1) Far more troublesome, however, are two key, as yet unresolved issues that are triggered by this seemingly indisputable empirical insight: (1) why has this development taken place, and (2) is this development good or bad for the litigation system? While the empirical conclusion seems relatively uncontroversial, the causal and normative issues to which it gives rise are considerably more difficult to resolve. The purpose of this Article is to suggest answers to both of these "second level" questions.