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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 is an Acting Professor at UC Davis School of Law. Her teaching profile at King Hall currently includes Criminal Law, Professional Responsibility, Voir Dire, and Criminal Trials: Theory and Practice.

Professor Joe graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was the recipient of the Williams Jennings Bryan award for the best undergraduate honors thesis in the Department of Government. She holds a J.D. with pro bono distinction from Stanford Law School, where she was President of the Black Law Students Association and Lead Article Editor of the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. During her time at Stanford, she was awarded the 2004-2005 Graduate Student of the Year by the Black Community Services Center and the 2006 Imelda Rosenthal Scholarship for Public Service by the Foundation of the State Bar of California. 

Professor Joe has significant experience in criminal litigation proceedings. 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 opportunity for parole. She also clerked with the Honorable Napoleon Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Professor Joe 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.

In her scholarly portfolio, Professor Joe uses the ethical and professional rules that guide attorney behavior to examine the limitations of institutional design on under-resourced criminal justice institutions. Professor Joe's most recent article, "Rethinking Misdemeanor Neglect” was published in the UCLA Law Review and her forthcoming article “The Mass Prosecutor’s Client” will be published in the Boston University Law Review.

Professor Joe has also commented and led sessions on various legal issues for the public including providing context for ongoing proceedings for press outlets such as ABC10 and the Washington Post. 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

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