Tamara F. Lawson is Dean and Professor of Law. She previously served as the law school’s Associate Dean for Faculty Development from 2013-2017, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2017-2018.
She joined the St. Thomas Law faculty in 2004. She teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and a seminar on Race and the Law. Professor Lawson was twice awarded Upperclass Professor of the Year in the 2004-05 and the 2005-06 academic years. Professor Lawson also visited at Catholic University of America, Columbus Law School for the academic year 2007-08. Prior to joining the law faculty, Professor Lawson served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Clark County District Attorney’s Office in Las Vegas, Nevada, from 1996-2002. As a criminal prosecutor, Professor Lawson was assigned to the Special Victims Unit for Domestic Violence, as well as other departments in the prosecutor’s office. She successfully argued multiple cases before the Nevada Supreme Court, including death penalty appeals. In addition to general criminal cases, Professor Lawson, in her capacity as Deputy D.A., handled environmental crimes, involuntary mental commitments, and bail bond hearings.
Dean Lawson’s research and writing interests include criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, trial advocacy, cyber crime, international criminal law, race and law, and professional responsibility. Her distinguished published writings include a lead article in the American Journal of Criminal Law, entitled, Can Fingerprints Lie?, coauthoring two casebooks: CRIMINAL PROCEDURE: CASES AND MATERIALS and EVIDENCE: CASES, MATERIALS, AND PROBLEMS (5TH ED.), and an invited book chapter on CONTEMPORARY CONTROVERSIES: FORENSIC TECHNOLOGY, entitled Before the Verdict and Beyond the Verdict: The CSI infection within Modern Criminal Jury Trials. Her article’s A Fresh Cut in an Old Wound – A Critical Analysis of the Trayvon Martin Killing: The Public Outcry, the Prosecutors’ Discretion, and The Stand Your Ground Law garnered Dean Lawson local media appearances as a legal expert, and she was selected as the Reporter for the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Stand Your Ground Laws. Some of her other notable publications include Mainstreaming Civil Rights in the Law School Curriculum, A Shift Towards Gender Equality in Prosecutions, and ‘Whites Only Tree,’ Hanging Nooses, No Crime?: Limiting the Prosecutorial Veto for Hate Crimes. Her articles have been published in prestigious law journals such as the American Journal of Criminal Law, the Iowa Law Review, the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, Loyola University Chicago Law Journal; Saint Louis University Law Journal; University of Florida Journal of Law, and Public Policy; Southern Illinois University Law Journal; University of Maryland Journal of Race, Religion, Gender, and CLASS; and the Saint Thomas Law Review. Her research on excessive force cases in Miami was also published in the article Powerless Against Police Brutality: A Felon’s Story.