Professor Kami N. Chavis was appointed Vice Dean of William & Mary Law School, effective July 1. Chavis joined the Law School in 2022, where she is the R. Hugh and Nolie Haynes Professor of Law and founding director of the William & Mary Center for Criminal Justice Policy and Reform.
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“Professor Chavis is an outstanding scholar, teacher, and colleague, who brings a distinguished record of academic service to her new role as vice dean,” said William & Mary Law School Dean and Trustee Professor A. Benjamin Spencer. “I want to thank Professor Adam Gershowitz, who served as vice dean for the past year, for his immeasurable support and dedication in that role.”
Chavis began her academic career at Wake Forest Law School, where she was promoted to full professor in 2012. She served as the law school’s Associate Dean of Research and Public Engagement and was founder and inaugural director of its Criminal Justice Program. She held two senior leadership positions at Wake Forest University, including Associate Provost of Academic Initiatives and, later, Vice Provost. As Vice Provost, she managed many of the university’s academic and strategic initiatives and her portfolio of responsibilities included the Office of Civic & Community Engagement, the Humanities Institute, the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, the Office of Online Education, the Professional Development Center, the Title IX Office, and Wake Forest University Press. She also was cofounder and cochair of the Wake Forest Slavery, Race, and Memory Project.
She has taught courses related to criminal law, criminal procedure, and policing and prosecutorial accountability. Chavis’s research focuses on a variety of criminal justice issues such as police and prosecutorial accountability, law enforcement and technology, federal hate crimes legislation and enforcement, racial profiling, and bias in jury selection. Her scholarship has appeared in legal journals such as the Illinois Law Review, American Criminal Law Review, the Howard Law Journal, the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, the University of Alabama Law Review, and the Catholic University Law Review. Shorter works have appeared in the New York Times, The Nation, USA Today, and other outlets. She is the coauthor of a textbook titled Criminal Law: A Context and Practice Casebook (Carolina Academic Press) (with Catherine Arcabascio, Steve Friedland & Catherine Carpenter).
Chavis’s expert commentary has appeared in numerous places, such as, for example, TIME, The Economist, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, CNN, BBC Newsday, and The Independent (U.K.).
She is a member of the American Law Institute and has served as a Senior Academic Fellow of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, D.C. She has been a visiting professor at the University of Texas School of Law, the George Washington University School of Law, and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.
Chavis received her bachelor’s degree with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After graduating from Harvard Law School, where she was an Earl Warren Scholar, she practiced law in Washington, D.C., at Latham & Watkins and at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. Prior to joining the Wake Forest University faculty, she was Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, where she was involved in a wide range of criminal prosecutions and briefed and argued appeals before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
About William & Mary Law School
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America’s first law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.