James C. Dever III serves as a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina. President George W. Bush nominated Judge Dever (then age 39) in May 2002, and the United States Senate unanimously confirmed him. Before serving as a United States District Judge, Judge Dever served as a United States Magistrate Judge for fifteen months. He served as Chief Judge from October 2011 through October 2018.
Judge Dever received his B.B.A., with high honors, from the University of Notre Dame in 1984. He attended Notre Dame on a four-year ROTC scholarship. He was a Distinguished Military Graduate, was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma, and received the Raymond P. Kent Award (which is awarded to the graduating senior with the highest average in finance/economics classes). He received his J.D., with high honors, from Duke University School of Law in 1987. At Duke, he served as editor-in-chief of the Duke Law Journal, was elected to the Order of the Coif, and received numerous academic awards.
After graduating from law school, he served for one year as a law clerk for Judge J. Clifford Wallace of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Following his clerkship, Judge Dever was the sole attorney entering active duty in the Air Force selected to serve in the Air Force General Counsel’s Honors Program at the Pentagon. While on active duty, he provided legal advice to and conducted litigation for the Secretary of the Air Force. He served on active duty in the Air Force at the Pentagon from October 1988 until September 1992. At the conclusion of his service, he received the Meritorious Service Medal.
Judge Dever then returned to North Carolina and joined Maupin Taylor & Ellis, P.A. in Raleigh. While in private practice, he engaged in a wide variety of complex civil litigation and served on the law firm’s management committee. He was repeatedly listed in the Best Lawyers in America and in Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite for Employment Law. Since 1997, Judge Dever has taught employment law and criminal procedure as an adjunct law professor at Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law. Since 2008, Judge Dever has co-taught a seminar on sentencing and punishment as a senior lecturing fellow at Duke University School of Law. Since 2009, he has taught criminal procedure as a senior lecturing fellow at Duke University School of Law. In 2014, Chief Justice John Roberts appointed Judge Dever to serve on the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules, where Judge Dever served until 2021. In 2022, Chief Justice Roberts appointed Judge Dever as Chair of the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules. Judge Dever also serves as a member of Duke Law School’s Board of Visitors and as a member of the Board of Trustee of Belmont Abbey College
Judge Dever’s chambers are in Raleigh, North Carolina.