Updated: Oct 11, 2022
The Federal Bar Association selected Rebecca G. Church, Immediate Past President of the San Diego Chapter, as the 2022 recipient of the Robyn J. Spalter Outstanding Achievement Award. This national award’s namesake climbed the leadership ladder to become President of the FBA. And because Robyn Spalter was known for her focus on developing newer lawyers, the award aims to encourage younger members of the federal bar to attain high standards of professionalism, demonstrate leadership throughout their career, and give back to the legal community by recognizing an FBA member who joined as a newer attorney and provided meaningful legal or public service.
A staple of the San Diego federal legal community, Rebecca Church personifies the Robyn J. Spalter Outstanding Achievement Award. She got her start in public service with back-to-back judicial clerkships in the Southern District of California for the Honorable Ruben B. Brooks, U.S. Magistrate Judge, and the Honorable William Q. Hayes, U.S. District Judge. Then, after practicing commercial litigation and employment law with Duane Morris LLP for two years, Rebecca returned to public service as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California.
Throughout the next seven years, Rebecca exclusively practiced in federal court and received top awards from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. She also served as the office’s Special Emphasis Program Manager for the Federal Women’s Program, Ethics Advisor & Professional Responsibility Officer, and Freedom of Information Act Attorney. More recently, Rebecca became the Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney—a role that involves senior management of the office’s approximately 140 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and 145 staff members.
All the while, Rebecca volunteered her time to support the legal community. She joined the FBA over a decade ago and began serving on the San Diego FBA’s Legal Education and Professional Advancement Committees. She helped planned—for years—a variety of legal education and bench-bar events. Her leadership in executing these events, coupled with her exceptional service as a public attorney, led to the National FBA recognizing her with the Younger Federal Lawyer Award in 2018.
Rebecca later joined the San Diego FBA’s Board of Directors as its Vice President of Legal Education and oversaw all its legal education events. Her service to the organization culminated in her becoming its President in 2021. During that banner year, the San Diego FBA presented a full slate of eighteen virtual and nine-in person events; celebrated the diversity and accomplishments of its members through judicial profiles, spotlight articles, and new Chapter Awards; and championed pro bono service, civility, and civics education. The National FBA recognized these accomplishments by awarding the San Diego FBA with the Chapter of the Year Award for the June 2021 to June 2022 period.
Past Chapter president Joseph S. Leventhal, Rebecca Church, Past Chapter president Michelle M. Pettit, and President-Elect Mary Cile Glover-Rogers congratulating Rebecca on her receipt of the Award.
Beyond volunteering for the FBA, Rebecca has been a Lawyer Representative for Southern District of California from 2018 to 2022, as well as a member of the Southern District’s History Committee, the Lawyers Club of San Diego, and the San Diego County Bar Association. She also spends considerable time mentoring younger attorneys and served an adjunct professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law from 2019–21.
The San Diego FBA congratulates Rebecca on her award and thanks her for her outstanding service to the FBA and the legal community.