Roger A. Fairfax, Jr. is Dean of American University Washington College of Law. As a prominent legal scholar, educator, and nationally known expert on criminal justice, he previously served as the Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professor and founding director of the Criminal Law & Policy Initiative at George Washington University Law School.
Dean Fairfax held positions at GW Law School as the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Dean for Public Engagement. His scholarship has been published in books and leading journals, and he has taught courses and conducted research on criminal law and procedure, professional responsibility and ethics, criminal justice policy and reform, racial justice, and grand jury and internal investigations. He has championed diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts throughout higher education and the legal profession.
Prior to his career in academia, he practiced law with the firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP in Washington, DC, and served as a federal prosecutor through the Attorney General’s Honors Program in the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He began his legal career as a law clerk to Judge Patti B. Saris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and to Judge Judith W. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.
Dean Fairfax has served on the boards of the National Bar Association, the Southeastern Association of Law Schools, and the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and he currently serves on the boards of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and the Historical Society of the DC Circuit. In 2019, Chief Justice John Roberts appointed him to the Judicial Conference of the United States, Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules.
Dean Fairfax is a member of the bar in the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and Maryland, and is admitted to practice in a number of federal trial and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He graduated with honors from Harvard College, the University of London, and Harvard Law School, where he was an NAACP Legal Defense Fund/Shearman & Sterling Scholar and an editor of the Harvard Law Review.