John J. Farmer Jr. Appointed Dean of Rutgers School of Law-Newark

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John J. Farmer Jr.(New Brunswick, NJ) – President Richard L. McCormick has announced the appointment of the distinguished attorney and former state attorney general John J. Farmer Jr., of Flemington, New Jersey, as dean of Rutgers School of Law-Newark.  Farmer will begin his post at Rutgers July 1, 2009.

Stuart L. Deutsch, of South Orange, New Jersey, who has served as dean of the law school since 1999, will return to the faculty as University Professor of Law.

“Rutgers is extremely pleased to announce John Farmer Jr. as the new dean for our distinguished law school in Newark,” commented McCormick.  “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. as dean of Rutgers law school in Newark 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.”

“I am honored by this appointment, and grateful for the support I have received from the law school alumni, the students, the faculty, the search committee and the Rutgers University administration,” Farmer said.  “I look forward to building on the solid foundation developed by Dean Deutsch, and to working with an outstanding faculty of legal scholars and a world-class group of students.”

In the 23 years since completing his law degree at Georgetown University, Farmer has had a high profile career in government and in legal practice.  As attorney general for the State of New Jersey from 1999-2002, Farmer supervised more than 600 attorneys and 8,000 employees in 10 divisions, and managed an annual budget of approximately $1 billion.

Among his noteworthy accomplishments as attorney general, he argued school funding and criminal justice matters before the New Jersey Supreme Court and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals; moved forward with reform of the New Jersey State Police, from eliminating racial profiling to increasing diversity in recruitment and promotion; created the Office of Inspector General to investigate allegations of official impropriety and/or corruption; and served as the first chairman of the New Jersey Domestic Preparedness Task Force, leading the coordination of New Jersey’s law enforcement and victim/witness response to the terror attacks on September ll, 2001.

From 2003-2004 Farmer served as senior counsel and team leader in New York City and Washington, D.C. for the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.  In that position he supervised and conducted the investigations of the nation’s preparedness for and immediate response to the 9/11 attacks.

In 2005-2007 he became a partner of the law firm of K & L Gates in Newark, New Jersey, and in 2007 became a founding partner of the law firm Arseneault, Whipple, Farmer, Fassett and Azzarello in Chatham, New Jersey.  He has been given the highest peer-review rating by Martindale-Hubbell and has been rated a New Jersey Superlawyer, one of New York Magazine’s Top Lawyers in the New York area, and one of the Best Lawyers in America.

In 2008 Farmer served as senior advisor to the Special Envoy General James Jones for Middle East Regional Security, on development of the rule of law in the Palestinian Authority Territory.  He was invited by the United States Embassy in Yerevan, Armenia, to assist that nation’s legislative commission in its investigation of unrest surrounding its 2008 elections that resulted in widespread violence and 12  homicides.

Farmer’s career in government has included service in Gov. Christine Todd Whitman’s administration as chief counsel (1997-99), deputy chief counsel and assistant counsel (1994-1997).  He also worked in the office of the United States Attorney in Newark (1990-1994); was a litigation associate at Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti (1988-1990); and clerked for Associate Justice Alan B. Handler of the New Jersey Supreme Court (1986-1988).

Additionally, Farmer has been a commissioner of the State Commission of Investigation (2002) and has served as adjunct professor of law at Rutgers School of Law-Newark, where he currently teaches New Jersey Constitutional Law and National Security Law; and adjunct professor of law at Seton Hall University Law center.

Farmer has been a frequent contributor to the The Star-Ledger and The New York Times, with essays and opinion columns on legal and political issues, and has had articles published in Rutgers Law Review, Seton Hall Law Review, and other journals. His article on the Patriot Act, “At Freedom’s Edge,” was part of a Star-Ledger series that was awarded the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award for outstanding legal reporting in 2006.  His book, The Ground Truth:  The Story Behind America’s Defense on 9/11, a reconsideration of the government’s 9/11 response in light of its response to Hurricane Katrina, is scheduled for publication this fall by Riverhead/Penguin Press. He currently serves as president of the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and as a member of the New Jersey Governor’s Ethics Advisory Board, the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, and the State Ethics Commission.

A native of Jersey City, New Jersey, Farmer received his J.D. in 1986 from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., where he was a staff member of The Tax Lawyer and first prizewinner in 1984 of the Lincoln and the Law Essay Contest.  He also received his B.A. from Georgetown University, with a major in English.  He is married to Beth Gates, and lives in Flemington, New Jersey. 

Rutgers School of Law-Newark

Rutgers School of Law-Newark has achieved national recognition for changing the face of the law and the legal profession through its core commitment to four values: teaching, scholarship, service, and opportunity.  These values are advanced by a faculty internationally known for scholarship and contributions to the profession, and by the school’s outstanding students and roster of distinguished graduates, who represent the law school in the highest levels of every sector of the legal profession in the U.S.

Rutgers School of Law-Newark has been shaped by an extraordinary institutional history.  This academic year, the school has held a series of events celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding, in 1908-09, of the state’s first school of law, The New Jersey Law School.  That school evolved to become Rutgers School of Law-Newark when the University of Newark merged with Rutgers University in 1946.

In this centennial year, Rutgers School of Law-Newark has renewed its commitment to its core values and honored a proud tradition of innovative teaching, pioneering research, exemplary public service, extraordinary professional achievement, and educational access.  For more information, please visit

Media Contact: Helen Paxton