Professor Fairfax Named Dean of American University Washington College of Law

Roger Fairfax
April 14, 2021

Roger A. Fairfax, Jr., the Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Criminal Law and Policy Initiative, has been named the next dean of American University Washington College of Law. Professor Fairfax will begin his term as dean July 1. 

“Roger is a remarkable and influential leader in the legal academy, the legal profession, and quite honestly in our nation. He is an outstanding teacher, scholar, academic leader, and advocate for social justice. It has been a privilege to have him as a member of our community, and we owe him immense gratitude for his service to GW Law,” said Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew. “I am delighted that we will continue to have the opportunity to work together as deans, as we strive to make Washington, DC, the most exciting place in the world to study law.”

At GW Law, Professor Fairfax teaches courses in criminal law, constitutional and adjudicatory criminal procedure, criminal litigation, prosecutorial and criminal defense ethics, and seminars on the grand jury, white-collar criminal investigations, criminal defense, and criminal justice policy. He conducts research on discretion in the criminal process, the grand jury, prosecutorial ethics, and criminal justice policy and reform.

He is the editor of Grand Jury 2.0: Modern Perspectives on the Grand Jury and the author of Adjudicatory Criminal Procedure: Cases, Statutes, and Materials. He contributed a chapter “Grand Jury and Police Violence Against Black Men” to the recent book Policing the Black Man, and his scholarship has been published in a number of leading law journals.

Before joining the law school faculty, Professor Fairfax served as a federal prosecutor in the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Following his government service, he was a Counsel in the Washington, DC, office of O'Melveny & Myers LLP. He has testified before Congress; spoken at the White House; and advised local, state, and national government officials and candidates on criminal justice policy.

He graduated with honors from Harvard College, the University of London, and Harvard Law School, where he served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review and was awarded the Heyman Fellowship for Government Service. He clerked for Judge Patti B. Saris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and for Judge Judith W. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.