The Judicial Conference of the United States is the policy-making arm of the federal courts. It oversees changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence and other rules governing court procedure. These rules are binding on parties in federal court, and many states use the federal rules as a pattern for their own state rules.
The rules are not static. Through a committee process that involves advisory committees and a Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, referred to as the Standing Committee, suggested changes to the rules are offered both by members of the advisory committees, who are appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States, as well as lawyers, law professors, legal associations, and others. The amendment process typically takes three years, during which time the committee solicits and reviews written comments and testimony from attorneys and others involved in the legal system.
AAJ closely monitors proposed amendments to the rules and the impact the proposed changes have on trial lawyers and their clients. When changes to the federal rules are advanced by defense interests, AAJ ensures that AAJ members are represented by advocating for rules that are fair and balanced. AAJ also works with member to identify rules which should be amended to better promote justice and fairness and improve efficiency.