Dean Emerita and Professor of Law
Michigan State University College of Law
Areas of expertise:
Constitutional Law, Federal Courts, Capital Defense Clinic, Gender, Race & Criminal Justice, Sexual Orientation & the Law, Remedies, Torts, Women & the Law, Religion Clauses Seminar
Joan Howarth served as dean of the Michigan State University Law College from 2008-2016. Prior to her deanship, she was a professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, since 2001. There she was named William S. Boyd Professor of Law in 2003 and was instrumental in building the Boyd School of Law, founded just a decade ago, serving for four years as associate dean and helping to establish Boyd's early and strong national reputation.
She began her career as a law professor in 1989 after stints with California's Office of the State Public Defender and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. She has been a faculty member at the Golden Gate University School of Law and a visiting professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, UC Hastings College of Law, and UC Davis School of Law.
Most recently she has taught courses on foundations of law, constitutional law and on gender, and a Capital Defense Clinic. The scholarship for which she is most known focuses on gender and the death penalty.
She is a leader in legal education through work with the Association of American Law Schools, the American Bar Association, and the Society of American Law Teachers.
Joan is currently on sabbatical from Michigan State University and will be teaching fall classes at UNLV.