Washington, DC— Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., today announced the appointment of Judge Robert J. Conrad,Jr., as the Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, effective March 1, 2024. He will succeed Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf who has served as Director since February 1, 2021, and who will retire from the Federal Judiciary on January 31, 2024. The Chief Justice also announced that Deputy Director Lee Ann Bennett will serve as Acting Director of theAdministrative Office for the month of February.
Conrad was a letterman on the Clemson basketball team between 1976-77 and 1979-80. His senior year he was the starting point guard on the only Clemson men’s basketball team in history to reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
The native of Glen Ellyn, Illinois was an Academic All-American and was named the ACC’s James Weaver Award Winner as the league’s top student-athlete over all sports. Additionally he won Clemson University’s Norris Medal as the school’s Outstanding Student.
Conrad was inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993 and received a Distinguished Service Award from the Clemson Alumni Association in 2015.
The Director of the Administrative Office is the chief administrative officer of the federal courts. The Director serves under the direction of the Judicial Conference of the United States, the principal policy-making body for the federal court system. The Chief Justice is the presiding officer of the Conference, which is composed of the chief judges of the 13 courts of appeals, a district judge from each of the 12 geographic circuits, and the chief judge of the Court of International Trade. The Chief Justice selects the Director.
In announcing the transition, the Chief Justice said, “I am grateful to Judge Mauskopf for guiding the AO with a steady hand through many challenges over the past three years and I congratulate her on more than four decades of continuous public service in a range of significant state and federal government roles. I wish her all the best as she returns to New York to begin the next phase of her legal career. I appreciate Deputy Director Bennett’s willingness to step in as Acting Director and her continued outstanding service to the Judiciary in this time of transition.
“And I welcome Judge Conrad to his new position. His long service to our branch in many important capacities makes him well suited to lead the AO in tackling the issues that the Judiciary faces now and in the years ahead.”
Judge Conrad currently serves as a Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. Appointed to the bench in June 2005, Judge Conrad served as Chief Judge from 2006 to 2013. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Conrad served for fifteen years in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina including as the United States Attorney from 2001 to 2004.
In accepting this appointment, Judge Conrad said, “I am grateful and humbled by Chief Justice Roberts’ selection of me to serve as Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. I will strive for excellence in the performance of this role. Over my nearly 20 years of service as a judge, I have witnessed the devotion to the rule of law and the sacrificial commitment to serve the judiciary extended by the men and women of the Judicial Branch. I look forward to working with them to meet the challenges ahead.”
In accordance with 28 U.S.C. §133(b), Judge Conrad will assume full-time responsibility for the management of the Administrative Office, which has over 1,000 employees, and for providing administrative support to 2,400 judicial officers, and over 28,000 court employees and Federal Defender employees. He will serve as liaison for the Judicial Branch in its relations with Congress, including working with congressional committees to secure the Judiciary’s annual appropriation and executing the Judiciary’s budget.
Judge Conrad’s service to the Judicial Branch includes membership on the Judicial Conference(2015-2020) as well as service on the following committees: Executive Committee (2016-2020);Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules (2021-present); liaison from that committee to theAdvisory Committee on Evidence Rules (2021-present); and Committee on Space and Facilities(2006-2012).
As part of his committee service, Judge Conrad addressed issues important to the Judicial Branch, including implementation of the 2017 Report of the Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Criminal Justice Act (the Cardone report), and providing guidance on conducting jury trials and convening grand juries during the COVID-19 pandemic as a member of the Judiciary’s COVID-19 Task Force and chair of its jury subgroup.
During his service in the Department of Justice between 1989 and 2004, Judge Conrad was tapped by successive Attorneys General for a number of special assignments. He served as Chief of the Campaign Financing Task Force; he chaired the Committee on Violent Crime; and he co-chaired the Committee on Terrorism. He also was appointed as a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee.
Judge Conrad has served as an adjunct professor at Wake Forest Law School, a member of the faculty of the Trial Advocacy College at the University of Virginia and received that organization’s William Brennan award for outstanding contributions to trial advocacy. He has been the chief proponent of a courtroom design known as the Virginia Revival Model Courtroom.
Judge Conrad graduated magna cum laude from Clemson University in 1980, and earned his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.