Levi tapped to lead new American Bar Association committee

Aug 29, 2014Latest News

The American Bar Association (ABA) has named Dean David F. Levi chair of the new Standing Committee on the American Judicial System.

The appointment was made by ABA President William C. Hubbard following the creation of the committee by the ABA House of Delegates in early August.

“This new committee will be a focal point of the ABA’s efforts to protect our nation’s courts and secure the fair, efficient, and accountable administration of justice,” said Hubbard. “Dean Levi’s talent and experience as a lawyer, judge, and dean, together with his remarkable and renowned leadership, make him uniquely qualified to assume this important responsibility for the ABA, our judicial system, and our nation.”

The Standing Committee on the American Judicial System will focus on protecting fair and impartial courts, improving the administration of justice, ensuring adequate court funding, and defending against unfair attacks on the judicial branch. It will support efforts to increase public understanding about the role of the judiciary and the importance of fair courts within the American democracy.

The committee will expand upon the work of its predecessor entities, the ABA Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements and the ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence. It will also continue the work of the ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System, which was co-chaired by Ted Olson and David Boies from 2010 to 2012, and by former ABA Presidents Stephen N. Zack and William T. Robinson III from 2012 to 2014. Robinson will serve as a special advisor to the new committee, as will the immediate past chair of the Standing Committee on Judicial Independence, Peter Bennett.

“I am pleased and honored to be chosen by President Hubbard to lead the ABA’s Standing Committee on the American Judicial System,” said Levi. “As a former judge, I am keenly aware that the independence and efficacy of our judges and judicial institutions are critical to the rule of law and the functioning of democracy. I look forward to working on these issues with this new committee, with my fellow co-chairs, with ABA leadership and staff, and with our profession as a whole.”

Levi, who has been dean of Duke Law School since 2007, is the former chief judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. He was appointed as a District Court Judge in 1990 after serving as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California since 1986.

Levi also served as a law clerk to Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. and to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Ben C. Duniway.  He is currently a member of the U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on the Rules of Practice and Procedure, a committee that he previously chaired.   He was also the chair of the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  He is a member of the Council of the American Law Institute and was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Levi’s leadership will be complemented by Michael H. Reed, of Pepper Hamilton in Philadelphia, who will serve as chair of the subcommittee on federal courts, and Alan T. Dimond, of Greenberg Traurig in Miami, who will serve as chair of the subcommittee on state courts.  The committee’s members will include judges, lawyers, academics, court administrators, and bar association leaders, each of whom is appointed by the ABA president.

The committee will work closely with state courts, state and local bar associations, and other ABA entities, including the ABA Governmental Affairs Office, to carry out its mission. It will also maintain liaison with the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, the Judicial Conference of the United States, and the Federal Judicial Center, as well as organizations such as the National Center for State Courts, the American Judicature Society, the National Judicial College, and the Justice at Stake Campaign.