W&L Law Prof's Scholarship Included in Most-Cited Study

Lexington, VA Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Benjamin Spencer
A. Benjamin Spencer
Washington and Lee law professor Benjamin Spencer authored two articles included in a recent study analyzing the most-cited law review articles of all time.

The study, by Fred Shapiro (Yale) and Michelle Pearse (Harvard) and appearing in the most recent issue of the Michigan Law Review, analyzes data from research tools HeinOnline and Web of Science to produce a listing of the 100 most-cited articles of all time. In addition, the authors generated most-cited lists for recent scholarship by year for 1990-2009.

Spencer's articles are included in two of the recent scholarship lists. His article "Plausibility Pleading" is third on the 2008 list with 104 citations and his article "Understanding Pleading Doctrine" is third on the 2009 list with 51 citations. Spencer is one of only a handful of legal scholars to appear more than one time in the study.

"Plausibility Pleading" was published in the Boston College Law Review. The article critiques the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bell Atlantic v. Twombly that dramatically reinterpreted Federal Rule 8(a)(2) to require a pleading of facts to demonstrate the plausibility of a plaintiff's claim. "Understanding Pleading Doctrine," published in the Michigan Law Review, further examines this issue in light of the Court's decision in order to help courts and litigants understand  what it takes to state a claim that can survive a motion to dismiss in this new legal landscape.

A member of the W&L Law faculty since 2008, Spencer is a prominent scholar in the area of federal civil procedure and jurisdiction. He has authored two books in the area of civil procedure, Acing Civil Procedure and Civil Procedure: A Contemporary Approach. Both are used widely by professors and students throughout the country.

In addition to his teaching and research, Spencer serves as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia. In this capacity, he has argued and won several cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of the government, including United States v. Stewart, United States v. Hicks, and United States v. Burns. Spencer is also Chair of the Virginia State Bar's Section on the Education of Lawyers and a member of the West Publishing Company Law School Advisory Board.

Prior to joining the Washington and Lee faculty, Spencer was an associate professor of law at the University of Richmond School of Law.  He also formerly worked as an associate in the law firm of Shearman & Sterling and as a Law Clerk to Judge Judith W. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  Spencer holds a B.A. from Morehouse College, a J.D. from the Harvard Law School and a Master of Science from the London School of Economics.

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