Distinguished Professor of Law and Horace O. Coil Chair in Litigation


Professor Richard Marcus was born and raised in San Francisco. He attended Pomona College, where he lettered for four years on the track team, engaged in a variety of 1960s-era political activities and spent a year as president of the student body. He then attended the UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), where he was research editor of the California Law Review and elected to the Order of the Coif when he graduated in 1972. Both before and after graduation from law school, Professor Marcus served as law clerk to Justice Raymond Peters of the California Supreme Court.

After an around-the-world expedition went awry in a bus accident in Afghanistan, he spent a summer working on the Wounded Knee Legal Defense Committee in Rapid City, South Dakota. Then, during 1973 to 1974, he served as an associate-in-law at Boalt Hall and, in 1974 to 1975, as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Alfonso J. Zirpoli in San Francisco. In 1976 he got a real job, as a litigation associate at Dinkelspiel, Pelavin, Steefel & Levitt (since disbanded) in San Francisco, where he became a partner in 1980.

In 1981, Professor Marcus left practice and entered teaching as an associate professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, becoming a full professor in 1984. He was a visiting professor at the University of Michigan Law School in 1986 to 1987. He joined the UC Hastings faculty in 1989, became a Distinguished Professor in 1997, and was awarded the Horace O. Coil (‘57) Chair in Litigation in 1999. His teaching has focused on litigation-related areas such as civil procedure, complex litigation, conflicts of law, and evidence, and he has also taught contracts, corporations and remedies.

Professor Marcus’ writing has focused on litigation-related topics. He is a lead author of the West casebooks Complex Litigation (5th ed. 2010) and Civil Procedure: A Modern Approach (6th ed. 2013). He is also an author of several volumes of the Federal Practice & Procedure treatise (known as Wright & Miller) and serves on a variety of committees dealing with practice issues. Since 1996, he has served as Associate Reporter to the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules of the Judicial Conference of the U.S.



  1. University of California (Boalt Hall) 1971

    J.D., Law

  2. Pomona College 1969

    B.A., History

Selected Scholarship

  1. 'American Exceptionalism' in Goals for Civil Litigation 01/2014

    Goals of Civil Justice and CIvil Procedure in Contemporary Judicial Systems

  2. America's Dynamic and Extensive Experience with Collective Litigation 01/2013

    Resolving Mass Disputes: ADR and Settlement of Mass Claims

  3. Procedural Postcard from America 01/2013

    Russian Law Journal

  4. Cooperation and Litigation: Thoughts on the American Experience 01/2013

    Kansas Law Review

  5. The Rulemakers' Laments 01/2013

    Fordham Law Review


  1. Complex Litigation
  2. Civil Procedure I
  3. Civil Procedure II