Chief Justice Roberts Appoints Professor A. Benjamin Spencer to Committee on Civil Rules

Civil Procedure Expert's Term to Judicial Conference Committee Starts Oct. 1
A. Benjamin Spencer

A. Benjamin Spencer, the Earle K. Shawe Professor of Law, teaches courses in federal civil practice and procedure, and military law.

May 16, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has appointed A. Benjamin Spencer, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, to the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules of the Judicial Conference of the United States. 

The Judicial Conference is the principal policymaking body of the U.S. Courts, and is charged with developing amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Spencer, an expert in civil procedure and federal jurisdiction, officially received the good news in a letter last week from Roberts.

"I am confident that your contributions will be many," Roberts wrote.

Spencer will serve a three-year term beginning Oct. 1, working with Judge John D. Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the committee's chair.

"For proceduralists, this is the principal group of people who superintend the body of rules around which our field revolves," Spencer said. "It is very humbling for me to be presented with this opportunity."   

The Civil Rules Committee is one of the U.S. Courts' five advisory committees that evaluate proposed rules amendments meant to make the courts run more smoothly and equitably. Comments from the bench, bar and general public are typically sought when a change is under consideration.

“The rules are a vital component of ensuring that litigants’ disputes are resolved in a just and efficient manner,” Spencer said.

The work will be labor intensive, he noted, adding that Professor John C. Jeffries Jr. once served on the same committee. "I’ll be consulting with him."

Spencer is well-versed in the fine points of federal rules and procedure. Last year, he was added to the list of authors of Wright & Miller's "Federal Practice and Procedure," a multi-volume treatise that is the preeminent reference work for civil procedure topics for practitioners, courts and professors.

He also teaches, among other courses, "Issues in Federal Civil Practice and Procedure," which culminates with students making proposed changes to federal rules.

"The proposals will definitely get more attention now," he joked.

The Earle K. Shawe Professor of Law at UVA, Spencer said his new responsibility will not interfere with his future teaching schedule.

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