A. Benjamin Spencer Of Counsel

A. Benjamin Spencer — dean of the William & Mary Law School and holder of the Marshall-Wythe School of Law Foundation Trustee Professorship — is Of Counsel with McGuireWoods’ Business & Securities Litigation Department. During his legal career spanning more than two decades, he has distinguished himself in the field of federal civil litigation, serving as a consultant in civil litigation matters and as an expert on federal civil procedure and jurisdiction.

In 2017, Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. appointed Dean Spencer to the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules of the U.S. Judicial Conference.

Dean Spencer has written two books on civil procedure, “Acing Civil Procedure” and “Civil Procedure: A Contemporary Approach.” He also is an author of several volumes of Wright and Miller's “Federal Practice & Procedure,” a multivolume treatise that is the pre-eminent reference work on civil procedure topics for practitioners, courts and professors.

Dean Spencer previously taught at the University of Richmond, Washington & Lee University, George Washington University, the University of Chicago, Harvard Law School and the University of Virginia. He served a four-year term as a special assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia, occasionally handling appellate pro bono cases in the 4th Circuit on behalf of the government. He also worked as an associate at an Am Law 100 firm and clerked for Judge Judith W. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

In 2007, Dean Spencer was awarded the Virginia State Council of Higher Education “Rising Star” award, given to the most promising junior faculty member among all academic fields at all colleges and universities in Virginia. He was the first law professor to receive this award.

Dean Spencer serves as an officer in the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the U.S. Army (Reserve).

  • Virginia
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

U.S. Army, Meritorious Service Medal, 2023

Virginia State Bar, Rakes Leadership in Legal Education Award, 2022

U.S. Army, Army Reserve Component Achievement Award, 2021, 2018

U.S. Army, Army Commendation Medal, 2019

U.S. Army, Army Achievement Medal, 2016

U.S. Army, National Defense Service Medal, 2015

Virginia State Council of Higher Education, “Rising Star” Award, 2007

  • Harvard Law School, JD, Ames Moot Court, Editor, Harvard Law Review, 2001
  • The London School of Economics and Political Science, MSc, Marshall Scholar, 1998
  • Morehouse College, BA, Valedictorian, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1996

Member, Virginia State Bar

Member, Bar of the District of Columbia

Member, Advisory Committee on Civil Rules of the U.S. Judicial Conference

Member, American Law Institute

Member, National Association of Corporate Directors

Member, West Academic Law School Advisory Board

Member, Audire Inc. Advisory Board

Member, British Ambassador’s Advisory Council

Member, Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference

Chair, Marshall Scholarship Selection Committee (D.C.)

Chair, National Conference of Bar Examiners’ Civil Procedure Multistate Bar Exam Drafting Committee

Fellow, Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce

Former Member, Virginia State Bar Council

Former Chair, Virginia State Bar Section on the Education of Lawyers

  • Author, Volumes 5, 5A, 5B, 5C and 14C, Wright and Miller's Federal Practice & Procedure, 2016-Present
  • Author, Rule 4(k), Nationwide Personal Jurisdiction, and the Civil Rules Advisory Committee: Lessons From Attempted Reform, Alabama Law Review, 2022
  • Author, Civil Procedure: A Contemporary Approach, 2021
  • Author, Pleading Conditions of the Mind Under Rule 9(b), 41 Cardozo Law Review, 2020
  • Author, Out of the Quandary: Personal Jurisdiction Over Absent Class Member Claims Explained, Review of Litigation, 2019
  • Author, The Territorial Reach of the Federal Courts, Florida Law Review, 2019
  • Author, Substance, Procedure, and the Rules Enabling Act, UCLA Law Review, 2019
  • Author, Acing Civil Procedure, 2019
  • Author, Understanding the Department of Defense’s Policy Regarding Transgender Servicemembers, The Army Lawyer, 2017
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