Posted April 11, 2008

JoAnne A. Epps named dean of Temple’s Beasley School of Law


Concluding a national search, Temple University President Ann Weaver Hart announced that Temple Law Associate Dean JoAnne A. Epps, a leading scholar in the areas of trial advocacy and criminal procedure and one of the university’s most distinguished faculty members, has been appointed dean of Temple’s James E. Beasley School of Law.

Epps’ appointment is effective July 1, 2008.

Joanne Epps
Photo by Kelly & Massa

“JoAnne Epps is an accomplished leader who will guide the Beasley School of Law to even greater heights,” Hart said. “She is a universally respected scholar, her devotion to Temple’s mission of access to excellence is tireless and — as her colleagues and students will testify — her energy is contagious. I congratulate the search committee for their hard work.”

Epps will take over the helm of a law school with 64 faculty members, more than 1,200 students at Temple’s Main Campus in Philadelphia and nearly 150 students enrolled in Temple’s law programs in China and Japan. Temple Law’s programs in trial advocacy, legal writing and international law are consistently ranked among the nation’s best.


“I am humbled and excited to have this opportunity to lead this great faculty as Temple Law continues to grow at home and abroad,” Epps said, “and I’m honored to follow Dean Reinstein, who has been an inspiring and transformative leader; he leaves big shoes to fill.”

As associate dean of academic affairs at Temple Law since 1989, Epps has served as the primary liaison between the dean and the law faculty; overseen student administrative operations, from admissions to career planning; and assisted the dean in faculty personnel decisions, fundraising and alumni relations.

Epps joined the Temple Law faculty in 1985; she teaches “Evidence,” “Criminal Procedure” and “Trial Advocacy.” She was appointed a full professor in 1994, and served as the I. Herman Stern Professor of Law, a rotating professorship honoring teaching excellence, from 1997 to 2000.

Although she has been a faculty member for more than two decades, Epps’ connections to the university run far deeper. Her first job at 16 was as a cashier at Temple’s bookstore, and her mother was a Temple employee.

An authority on evidence, criminal procedure and litigation advocacy, Epps is the author or co-author of several articles and books that are widely used by law students and lawyers, including The Winning Argument (2001) and 100 Vignettes for Improving Trial Evidence (2005).

Epps is a member of the American Law Institute (ALI) and a long-standing, influential member of many American Bar Association (ABA) committees. She is the Section of Litigation delegate to the ABA’s House of Delegates and a member of the ABA’s Association Nominating Committee and its Steering Committee. Epps recently completed a term as a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Continuing Legal Education. She currently serves on the Advisory Committee of ALI-ABA’s Program Committee and has served on ALI-ABA’s Committee on Continuing Professional Education.

She also serves or has served as a committee member, board member or chair with the American Association of Law Schools, the Philadelphia Bar Association Committee to Promote Fairness in the Courts, the Defender Organization of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Judicial Independence Commission, the Mayor’s Task Force on Police Discipline, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Magistrate Judge Selection Committee, the Pennsylvania Justice Commission, the Pennsylvania Bar Association Gender Task Force and the Race and Ethnicity Commission of the Third Circuit Task Force on Equal Treatment in the Courts.

Among her many honors and awards are the Doris May Harris Image Award from the National Bar Association’s Women Lawyers Division, the National Black Prosecutors’ Association Founders’ Award, the National Institute for Trial Advocacy’s Honorable Robert E. Keeton Faculty Award and the Barrister’s Association of Philadelphia’s Women of Distinction Award. The Philadelphia Business Journal and the National Association of Women Business Owners named her one of 25 “Women of Distinction,” and the Philadelphia Legal Intelligencer designated her one of 50 “Women of Influence.”

A passionate advocate of international legal education, Epps was the only law professor selected by the ABA to travel to London to train Sudanese lawyers representing victims of the Darfur crisis. She also has taught Chinese legal professionals in Temple Law’s pioneering Rule of Law programs in Beijing, jury trial advocacy to members of the Japanese Bar Association and advocacy skills to prosecutors in Tanzania at the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Before joining the Temple Law faculty, Epps was assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (1980-85); she tried more than a dozen criminal cases to verdict and argued three cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. From 1976 to 1980, Epps was deputy city attorney for the City of Los Angeles, where she tried more than 50 criminal jury trials.

Epps earned her juris doctor from the Yale School of Law in 1976 after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., in 1973.

Epps will succeed Dean Robert J. Reinstein, who will retire on June 30, 2008, after 19 years of service. Reinstein is among the longest-serving deans in an American law school.