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University Professor, Justice Alan B. Handler Scholar, and Special Counsel to the President

John J. Farmer Jr. began his tenure as dean of Rutgers School of Law—Newark in July 2009. From April 2013 until June 30, 2014 he was on a leave of absence to serve as Senior Vice President and University Counsel. His distinguished legal career has spanned service in high-profile government appointments, private practice in diverse areas of criminal law, and teaching. Career highlights include: attorney general for the State of New Jersey; assistant U.S. attorney; chief counsel to the Governor; senior counsel and team leader for the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (commonly known as the 9/11 Commission); partner of the law firm K&L Gates; and founding partner of the law firm Arseneault, Whipple, Farmer, Fassett and Azzarello.

A prolific writer on legal and political issues, Farmer has been a frequent contributor to the The Star-Ledger and The New York Times 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. Farmer is the author of The Ground Truth: The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11 (Penguin Group, 2009), a reconsideration of the government’s 9/11 response in light of its response to Hurricane Katrina.

Currently president of the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, Farmer is a former member of the New Jersey Governor’s Ethics Advisory Board and the State Ethics Board.

Farmer received his juris doctor in 1986 from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a staff member of The Tax Lawyer and first-place winner in 1984 of the Lincoln and the Law Essay Contest. Majoring in English, Farmer also received his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.

A member of the Rutgers School of Law—Newark adjunct faculty since 2005, Farmer’s areas of expertise include criminal law, national security law, and New Jersey constitutional law.