Irene Oritseweyinmi Joe


Position Title
Professor of Law

King Hall

Professor Irene Oritseweyinmi Joe joined the faculty at UC Davis School of Law 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. Professor Joe’s recent articles have appeared or are forthcoming in the Iowa Law Review, the California Law Review, the UC Davis Law Review, the Boston University Law Review, the UCLA Law Review, and the Denver Law Review. Professor Joe also published an op-ed during the 2016 presidential election cycle titled, “Like Many Immigrants, I Owe a Debt to the Republican Party…of the 1980s” in the Los Angeles Times.

Prior to joining the UC Davis faculty, Professor Joe 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. She then completed a federal clerkship with the Honorable Napoleon Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California before returning to practicing criminal law. 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 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. Professor Joe transitioned to legal academia as a Binder Teaching Fellow at UCLA School of Law before assuming her position at UC Davis School of Law.

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

Education and Degree(s)
  • J.D. Stanford Law School, 2006
  • B.A. Government and African American Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 2003, cum laude
Honors and Awards
  • 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
Research Interests & Expertise
  • Criminal Law And Procedure
  • Juries
  • Legal Ethics
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Trial Advocacy And Practice
  • Voir Dire (Jury Selection)
Membership and Service
  • Graduate & Faculty Member, Gideon’s Promise
  • Faculty, National Defender Training Project in Dayton Ohio
  • Faculty, Defender Association of Philadelphia Voir Dire Training


Everyday Injustice, Podcast Episode 145, Vanguard News Group (March 2022)

Hard Questions about Soft Skills: A Celebration of Deborah Rhode’s Scholarship, 74 Stan. L. Rev. Online (2021)

The Reform Blindspot, 74 SMU L. Rev. 555 (2021) (invited contribution)

Probable Cause and Performing “For the People”, 70 Duke L.J. Online 138 (2021) (invited contribution)

When the Public Defender Falls Short, 54 UC Davis L. Rev. 1763 (2021) (presentation transcript)

Op-Ed, Defend the Public Defenders, The Atlantic (Mar. 2021) 

Irene Oritsweyinmi Joe and co-author Ben Miller, When Every Sentence is a Possible Death Sentence: Public Defenders Speak from the Front Lines about COVID-19, (April 2020)

Irene Oritsweyinmi Joe, Structuring the Public Defender106 Iowa L. Rev. 113 (2020) (selected for Michigan Young Scholars Conference)

Irene Oritsweyinmi Joe, Regulating Implicit Bias in Federal Court108 Cal. L. Rev. 101 (2020) (invited contribution)

How the Public Defender Falls Short, Racial Justice Speakers Series, UC Davis School of Law (November 2020)

Irene Oritsweyinmi Joe, Regulating Mass Prosecution53 UC Davis L. Rev. 1175 (2020) ((selected for 11th Annual Fred C. Zacharias Memorial Prize for Scholarship in Professional Responsibility (Honorable Mention))

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)

Op-Ed, Like Many Immigrants, I Owe a Debt to the Republican Party…of the 1980s, LA Times (Oct. 2016)

Systematizing Public Defender Rationing, 93 Denv. L. Rev. 389 (2016)