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John J. Farmer, Jr. Becomes Dean of the Law School

July 01, 2009 – 

John J. Farmer, Jr., a widely admired former public official and eminent attorney with outstanding legal and administrative accomplishments, today assumed the deanship of Rutgers School of Law–Newark. In announcing the appointment on April 17 following a national search, Rutgers University President Richard L. McCormick commented: “Rutgers is extremely pleased to announce John Farmer, Jr. as the new Dean for our distinguished law school in Newark. “As one of our state’s most respected former public officials and attorneys, he brings outstanding leadership abilities that will most certainly translate into dynamic advocacy and advancement for the School of Law–Newark.”

“The appointment of John Farmer, Jr. is a moment for celebration,” added Chancellor Steven J. Diner. “The breadth and depth of his knowledge of legal affairs and practice in New Jersey, the U.S. and globally will be an outstanding asset for Rutgers University in Newark.”

John Farmer 
Farmer received his J.D. in 1986 from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a member of The Tax Lawyer and received first prize in the 1984 Lincoln and the Law Essay Contest. His distinguished career spans government service in high-profile appointments to private practice in diverse areas of criminal law.

As Senior Counsel and Team Leader of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (commonly known as the 9/11 Commission), he led the investigation of the country’s preparedness for and response to the terrorist attacks and was a principal author of the Commission’s final report. As Attorney General for the State of New Jersey, Farmer supervised more than 600 attorneys and 8,000 employees in 10 divisions. His noteworthy accomplishments include arguing school funding and criminal justice matters before the New Jersey Supreme Court; achieving reform of the New Jersey State Police, from eliminating racial profiling to increasing diversity in recruitment and promotion; and creating the Office of Inspector General to investigate allegations of official impropriety and/or corruption. He also served in the administration of New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman as chief counsel, deputy chief counsel, and assistant counsel.

The new dean is no stranger to Rutgers Law School, having taught National Security Law as an adjunct professor since 2005. Before that he taught a course in New Jersey Constitutional Law. In 2005 Farmer delivered the 2005 Paul S. Miller Distinguished Lecture on the topic “The Rule of Law in an Age of Terror.”

John Farmer, Jr. began his career as a law clerk to Associate Justice Alan B. Handler of the New Jersey Supreme Court. He then worked as a litigation associate at Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti LLP before joining the Office of the U.S. Attorney in Newark, where he prosecuted crimes ranging from kidnapping and arms dealing to bank fraud.

In 2007 Farmer became a founding partner of the law firm Arseneault, Whipple, Farmer, Fassett and Azzarello, LLP in Chatham, NJ. Prior to that, he was a partner in K&L Gates, Newark. He has received the highest peer-reviewed rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and has been named a New Jersey Super Lawyer, one of New York Magazine’s Best Lawyers in the New York area, and one of the Best Lawyers in America. In 2008, he served as senior advisor to General James Jones, Special Envoy for Middle East Regional Security, on development of the rule of law in the Palestinian Authority territory, and was invited by the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, Armenia, to assist that nation’s legislative commission in investigating widespread violence and unrest following its elections.

Farmer succeeds Stuart L. Deutsch, who has stepped down after a 10-year tenure as dean to return to the faculty as University Professor.