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Irene Oritseweyinmi Joe

Acting Professor of Law


J.D. Stanford Law School 2006

B.A. Government and African American Studies, University of Texas at Austin 2003, cum laude


Professor Irene Oritseweyinmi Joe joined the UC Davis School of Law Faculty in 2016. Her teaching profile at King Hall includes Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Professional Responsibility, Voir Dire, and Criminal Trials: Theory and Practice.

Professor Joe has significant experience in criminal court litigation. She served as a fellow for the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama where she represented indigent defendants in capital post-conviction litigation and children sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. After completing a federal clerkship with the Honorable Napoleon Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Professor Joe returned to defense representation in criminal court. She was both a line defender and the Assistant Special Litigation Counsel at the Orleans Public Defenders, a public defender office newly created in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. She was also the Assistant Training Director with the Louisiana Public Defender Board where she was responsible for creating and supervising statewide training programs for public defenders, investigators, mitigation specialists and administrative staff in connection with criminal misdemeanor, felony and capital trials. 

Prior to joining the faculty at UC Davis, Professor Joe was the Binder Teaching Fellow at UCLA School of Law where she taught courses in the Ethics of Criminal Justice, Voir Dire, and Trial Advocacy.

Professor Joe’s research is at the intersection of criminal procedure and professional responsibility. Her current projects focus on defining the public defender institution while exploring ways to address its caseload crisis. Her research has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as the California Law Review, UCLA Law Review, and the Boston University Law Review. Professor Joe also published an op-ed during the 2016 election cycle titled, “Like Many Immigrants, I Owe a Debt to the Republican Party…of the 1980s” in the Los Angeles Times. 

You can follow Professor Joe via her Twitter handle: @ireneojoe

Subject Areas

Criminal Law And Procedure, Juries, Legal Ethics, Professional Responsibility, Trial Advocacy And Practice, Voir Dire (Jury Selection)

Selected Career Highlights

  • Binder Teaching Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor, UCLA School of Law, 2013-2016
  • Assistant Training Director, Louisiana Public Defender Board, 2011-2013
  • Assistant Special Litigation Counsel, Orleans Public Defenders, 2008-2011
  • Fellowship Attorney, Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama, 2006-2007
  • Law Clerk to Judge Napoleon A. Jones, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, 2007-2008

Selected Publications

Irene Oritsweyinmi Joe, Regulating Mass Prosecution, U.C. Davis L. Rev. (forthcoming 2020)
Irene Oritsweyinmi Joe, The Prosecutor’s Client Problem, 98 B.U. L. Rev. 885 (2018) (invited symposium contribution)
Irene Oritseweyinmi Joe, Rethinking Misdemeanor Neglect, 64 UCLA L. Rev. 738 (2017)
Systematizing Public Defender Rationing, 93 Denv. L. Rev. 389 (2016)

Service Activities

Graduate & Faculty Member, Gideon’s Promise

Faculty, National Defender Training Project in Dayton Ohio

Faculty, Defender Association of Philadelphia Voir Dire Training