Professor Joe Selected as UC Davis Chancellor's Fellow

Chancellor Gary S. May has selected Professor Irene Oritseweyinmi Joe as a 2023-24 UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow. As part of the five-year fellowship, Joe will receive a one-time award of $25,000 to support research, teaching and service activities.

Established in 2000, the Chancellor’s Fellows program honors the achievements of outstanding faculty members still early in their careers. The chancellor will recognize Joe and the rest of the 2023-24 fellowship class at a special reception.

A former New Orleans public defender, Joe joined the UC Davis Law faculty in 2016. Her teaching profile includes Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Professional Responsibility (legal ethics), and Voir Dire (jury selection). Her research focuses on how the design of the criminal process affects the ability of institutional attorneys to manage overwhelming caseloads and comply with ethical requirements. Joe’s scholarship has appeared in the California Law Review, UCLA Law Review, UC Davis Law Review and Iowa Law Review, among others.

Joe published a Los Angeles Times op-ed during the 2016 presidential election cycle headlined “Like Many Immigrants, I Owe a Debt to the Republican Party…of the 1980s.” She also wrote a 2021 opinion piece for The Atlantic, “Defend the Public Defenders,” and has commented for local and national media on topics ranging from the Harvey Weinstein and Derek Chauvin trials to then-Sen. Kamala Harris’ criminal justice record.

Before joining UC Davis, Joe was a fellow with the Equal Justice Initiative, where she represented indigent defendants in capital post-conviction litigation and children sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. She then completed a clerkship with the Honorable Napoleon Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California before returning to practicing criminal law. 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 implementing statewide training programs for the public defenders, investigators, mitigation specialists and administrative staff tasked with providing constitutional and ethical representation to defendants facing misdemeanor, felony and capital charges.

Joe transitioned to legal academia as a Binder Teaching Fellow at UCLA School of Law. She holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Current and past Chancellor's Fellows from UC Davis Law include Professors Aaron Tang, Brian Soucek, David Horton, Peter Lee and Holly Doremus (now at UC Berkeley School of Law).  

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