WASHINGTON – Howard University President Ben Vinson III, Ph.D., announced the appointment of Roger A. Fairfax, Jr. as dean of the Howard University School of Law, effective July 1, 2024.
“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Roger A. Fairfax, Jr. as dean of the Howard University School of Law,” said President Vinson. “Mr. Fairfax is a passionate legal educator whose extensive scholarship and commitment to criminal justice reform are deeply aligned with the law school’s mission. We are excited to welcome Mr. Fairfax to the Howard University community.”
Fairfax, a prominent legal scholar, educator, and nationally recognized expert on criminal justice and diversity in the legal profession, will succeed Danielle R. Holley, who served as dean from 2014 to 2023 before being appointed president of Mount Holyoke College.
“I have long admired and championed the Howard University School of Law’s indispensable mission, and I am humbled by the opportunity to steward and lead this extraordinary community,” said Fairfax. “It will be a tremendous honor at this critical time to follow in the footsteps of those who have assumed the solemn responsibility of leading one of the most consequential institutions in the history of legal education and the legal profession.”
Fairfax currently serves as dean of the American University Washington College of Law. He graduated with honors from Harvard College, the University of London, and Harvard Law School, where he was an NAACP Legal Defense Fund Scholar and an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Hailing from a family with strong Howard University ties, he grew up blocks from campus and attended Archbishop Carroll High School in northeast D.C.
Prior to academia, Fairfax practiced with the firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP in Washington, D.C., and served as an Attorney General’s Honors Program Trial Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division. He began his legal career as a law clerk to a federal district judge in Boston and a federal circuit judge in D.C. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Fairfax’s scholarship has been published in numerous books and leading journals. He has taught courses and conducted research on criminal law and procedure, professional responsibility and ethics, criminal justice policy and reform, and racial justice. He previously served as George Washington University Law School’s Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professor of Law and senior associate dean for academic affairs.
As dean of the American University Washington College of Law, Fairfax successfully led a strategic plan that featured increased student enrollments with the highest academic credentials in the school’s history. He expanded faculty diversity, established new programs and invested in student experience, public interest, bar passage, diversity, community engagement, budget management, and enhanced alumni engagement and fundraising performance. Fairfax has served on the boards of the National Bar Association and the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute. He currently serves on the boards of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He was recently reappointed by Chief Justice John Roberts to the Judicial Conference of the United States Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules.
President Vinson also thanked law professor Lisa Crooms-Robinson, who currently serves as interim dean of the Howard University School of Law. At the conclusion of her tenure through June 30, 2024, Crooms-Robinson will return to the School of Law’s faculty.
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About Howard University
Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced three Schwarzman Scholars, four Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.