The Supreme Court first established a rules advisory committee in June 1935 to help draft the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which took effect in 1938. Today, Advisory Committees on the Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, Criminal Procedure, and the Rules of Evidence carry on a continuous study of the rules and recommend changes to the Judicial Conference through a Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure.
The Chief Justice appoints the committee members whose terms are limited to no more than six years. Committee members receive no payment for their service. Unlike other Judicial Conference committees, the rules committees include not only federal judges, but also practicing lawyers, law professors, state chief justices, and high-level officials from the Department of Justice and federal public defender organizations.
Each committee also relies heavily on the services of its "reporter." The reporters are prominent law professors, who are the leading experts in their respective fields. Each has been appointed by the Chief Justice. The reporters research the relevant law and draft memoranda analyzing suggested rule changes, develop proposed drafts of rules for committee consideration, review and summarize public comments on proposed amendments, and generate the committee notes and other materials documenting the rules committees' work.