U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm
Veteran jurist to lead the Bolch Judicial Institute
United States District Court Judge Paul W. Grimm of the District of Maryland, a 2016 graduate of Duke Law School’s Master of Judicial Studies program, has been named the David F. Levi Director of the Bolch Judicial Institute effective Jan. 1, 2023. Grimm, who also will join the Duke Law faculty as a professor of the practice, succeeds David F. Levi, who will step down as director at the end of 2022.
“Judge Grimm will be an inspiring leader for the Bolch Judicial Institute and an outstanding addition to the Duke Law faculty,” says Kerry Abrams, James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law. “He not only brings a judge’s experience and insight gained from 25 years on the federal bench but also a scholar’s commitment to the study of the judiciary and judicial processes. Under David Levi’s leadership, and in just a few short years, the institute has become a leading voice for strengthening the rule of law, advancing judicial independence, and studying and improving the administration of justice. Judge Grimm brings the experience, enthusiasm, and vision needed to take it into its next phase. I look forward to working with him.”
When he retires from the bench at the end of 2022, Grimm will have served 25 years as a federal judge; he was a magistrate judge for 15 years prior to his appointment to the district court in 2012. A widely recognized expert on electronic evidence, discovery, and civil procedure, Grimm has served on the Advisory Committee for the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and has taught courses on evidence and civil procedure at the University of Maryland School of Law and the University of Baltimore School of Law. He is a retired lieutenant colonel of the U.S. Army and served as a Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps officer on active duty and in the U.S. Army Reserve.
“It is an enormous honor to be joining this extraordinary faculty, led by such a dynamic dean, and to be able to work with them and the students at Duke,” said Grimm. “Moreover, to be able to work with the Bolch Judicial Institute to promote and further the visionary accomplishments that David Levi has achieved is the opportunity of a lifetime. With the strong support of the institute’s Advisory Board, the institute’s flagship programs — such as the judicial master’s program, which I had the good fortune to attend, Judicature, and many conferences and symposia — will continue to thrive, and I look forward to bringing on board new initiatives that will strengthen the rule of law and judicial independence, both at home and abroad.
“I am profoundly grateful for the generosity of Carl and Susan Bolch, who have made it possible for the institute to have achieved so much in such a short time,” he adds. “And I am truly looking forward to working with the exceptional staff of the institute, whose dedication and skill are instrumental in achieving the goals of the institute.”
Levi, the former dean of Duke Law School, has served as the institute’s director since it was established in 2018 by Carl Bolch, Jr. ’67 and Susan Bass Bolch.
“Judge Grimm has been a very influential judge, an excellent teacher, and a tireless contributor to the betterment of the courts and the rule of law.”— Professor Jack Knight
“I am so proud of what we have built in the Bolch Judicial Institute, and I can’t think of a more capable, thoughtful, or dedicated leader to continue the institute’s work than Judge Paul Grimm,” Levi says. “He has tremendous enthusiasm for the institute’s mission and a creative vision for building on our work to further advance the rule of law, support judicial independence, and strengthen the connection between the academy and the bench as we seek to improve the administration of justice. He brings deep expertise in law and technology, a broad view of the work of the judiciary, and a practical sense of the ways in which we can further support judges in their work — all of which will help him create new and exciting connections and opportunities for the institute, for the judiciary, and for Duke Law faculty and students. He is an outstanding leader and a terrific fit for the institute.”
Grimm was first appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland as a magistrate judge in February 1997; he served as chief magistrate judge from 2006 to 2012. In 2009, he was appointed by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. to serve on the Advisory Committee for the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; he chaired the subcommittee on discovery until September 2015.
When he was nominated to serve as a district court judge in 2012, Grimm was particularly recognized as an expert in law and technology. During his confirmation hearing, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin lauded Grimm’s expertise in civil procedure and discovery, noting that as a “nationally recognized expert on cutting-edge issues” and the author of “numerous authoritative opinions, books and articles on the subjects of evidence, civil procedure, and trial advocacy,” he brought “a wealth of experience” to his new role.
A member of the American Law Institute, Grimm has lectured widely and written books and articles on topics relating to evidence, civil procedure, discovery, and electronically stored information (ESI). He has also authored several landmark opinions on inadvertent disclosure of ESI and waiver of privilege, proper methods for search and retrieval of ESI, and the duty of counsel and parties to cooperate during pretrial discovery to reduce cost and burden.
“I’ve worked with Judge Grimm for over 20 years,” says Judge Lee Rosenthal, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas and a member of the institute’s Advisory Board. “We began working together in the early days of e-discovery, when it was quickly clear that he was among the very few who understood what was going on and the potential it presented. His great talent for solving present problems while anticipating future needs will be wonderful for the Bolch Judicial Institute. He combines devotion to solid scholarship with a pragmatic and practical mind. His wide-ranging knowledge and keen intellect allow him to see the potential promise in new questions and problems. His practical judgment and disciplined mind make him determined to accurately understand existing problems and devise practical, effective solutions.
“The Bolch Judicial Institute needs both the discipline and abstraction of scholarship and a practical and flexible sense of problems in the world,” Rosenthal adds. “Paul gets both. He’ll bring an infectious enthusiasm and passion to the Bolch Institute’s mission and work. I can’t wait to work with him.”
At Duke Law, Grimm led the steering committee that developed the latest edition of the institute’s Guidelines and Best Practices for Implementing the 2015 Discovery Amendments Concerning Proportionality (3rd edition, April 2021), a set of recommendations developed by judges, scholars, and practitioners for the practical application of amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure addressing proportionality in discovery. He explored the same topic in his 2016 thesis for his Duke master’s degree, “Are We Insane? The Quest for Proportionality in the Discovery Rules of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.” In another recent publication, Grimm and his co-authors explore the growth of artificial intelligence and the unique challenges of verifying the validity and reliability of AI evidence in court.
Grimm also brings substantial teaching experience to his new role at Duke Law, having taught not only at the University of Maryland and the University of Baltimore but also in continuing legal education programs for judges and lawyers around the country. He received the Outstanding Adjunct Professor of the Year Award from the University of Maryland School of Law in 2002, 2006, and 2013, the Maryland Bar Foundation’s Professional Excellence Award in 2001, and the Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyer’s Distinguished Service Award in 1998, among other honors.
“Judge Grimm has been a very influential judge, an excellent teacher, and a tireless contributor to the betterment of the courts and the rule of law,” says Jack Knight, the Frederic Cleaveland Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke Law, a faculty advisor to the institute, and chair of the search committee for its new director. “The search committee was especially impressed with his extraordinary enthusiasm and his thoughtful vision for the future of the Bolch Judicial Institute. With Judge Grimm as the director, the institute is very well situated to build on the foundation established by David Levi.”
Grimm studied classical rhetoric in college, graduating summa cum laude from the University of California-Davis, where he also served in the Reserve Officer Training Corps. He earned his JD, magna cum laude, at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where he was on law review and a member of the Order of the Coif. He served in the U.S. Army from 1973 to 1979, was a captain in the JAG Corps, and earned a parachutist badge, meritorious service medal, Army commendation medal, and Army achievement medal. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1979 to 1984 and 1988 to 2001, when he retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel. After law school, Grimm practiced law in Maryland, mostly in commercial litigation, and served as an assistant attorney general for the state of Maryland (1981 to 1984) and as an assistant state’s attorney for Baltimore County (1980 to 1981).
Grimm and his wife, Lynne, have three children and three grandchildren. An avid fly fisherman who says his enthusiasm far exceeds his skill, Grimm looks forward to getting to know the rivers and trout of North Carolina.