Tamara F. Lawson
Dean & Professor of Law
St. Thomas University College of Law
Office of the Dean
16401 NW 37th Ave
Miami Gardens, FL 33054
B.A., Claremont McKenna College
J.D., University of San Francisco School of Law
LL.M., Georgetown University Law Center, with distinction
Race and the Law
Tamara F. Lawson
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.
Dean Lawson joined the St. Thomas Law faculty in 2004. She teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and a seminar on Race and the Law. She was twice awarded Upper-class Professor of the Year; in the 2004-05 and the 2005-06 academic years. Dean Lawson also visited at Catholic University of America, Columbus Law School for the academic year 2007-08. Prior to joining the law faculty, Dean 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, she 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, Dean 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.
Books and Book Chapters:
- Evidence: Cases, Materials, and Problems (Carolina Academic Press, 5th ed., 2019) (with Paul Rothstein and David Crump)
- Criminal Procedure: Cases and Materials (West Publishing, 2nd ed. 2017) (with Cynthia Lee and Song Richardson)
- Criminal Procedure: Cases and Materials (West Publishing 2016) (with Cynthia Lee and Song Richardson)
- Tamara F. Lawson, The Criminal Litigation Process is Being Altered by Fear of the CSI Effect, in Forensic Technology 113 (Sylvia Engdahl, ed., 2011, Greenhaven Press) (Current Controversies).
- Tamara F. Lawson and Angela Mae Kupenda, ‘Truth and Reconciliation’: A Critical Step Toward Eliminating Race and Gender Violations in Tenure Wars, 31(1) Columbia J. Gender & L. 87 (2015).
- Tamara F. Lawson, Powerless Against Police Brutality: Felon’s Story, 25 St. Thomas L. Rev. 218 (2013).
- Tamara F. Lawson, 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, 23 U. Fla. J. L & Pub. Pol’y. 271 (2012).
- Tamara F. Lawson, Mainstreaming Civil Rights in the Law School Curriculum: Criminal Law and Procedure, 54(3) St. Louis U. L.J. 837 (2010). HeinOnline
- Tamara F. Lawson, A Shift Toward Gender Equality in Prosecutions: Realizing Legitimate Enforcement of Crimes Committed Against Women in Municipal and International Criminal Law, 33 S. Ill. U. L.J. 181 (2009). SSRN HeinOnline
- Tamara F. Lawson, Before the Verdict and Beyond the Verdict: The CSI Infection within Modern Criminal Jury Trials, 41 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. 119 (2009). SSRN HeinOnline
- Tamara F. Lawson, “Whites Only Tree,” Hanging Nooses, No Crime?: Limiting the Prosecutorial Veto for Hate Crimes in Louisiana and Across America, 8 U. Md. L.J. Race Religion Gender & Class 123 (2008). SSRN HeinOnline
- Tamara F. Lawson, Can Fingerprints Lie?: Re-Weighing Fingerprint Evidence in Criminal Jury Trials, 31 Am. J. Crim. L. 1 (2003). HeinOnline
- Tamara F. Lawson, Lawyering in Black and White: A Book Review of “According to Our Hearts, Rhinelander v. Rhinelander and the Law of the Multiracial Family”, 100(4) Iowa L. Rev. 1773 (2015).
STU Law News
We are proud to announce that Dean Tamara Lawson has been nominated and selected by Legacy Magazine as one of South Florida’s “Top Black Educators” for 2019. The announcement was included in the magazine’s Education issue, which was published on June 24, 2019 and inserted in the Miami Herald.
Tamara F. Lawson has been appointed Dean of St. Thomas University School of Law, University President David A. Armstrong, J.D. announced Tuesday. Lawson will assume the role immediately, succeeding Dean Alfredo Garcia who is now serving as Interim Provost of St. Thomas University. She is the first woman of color to serve in this role.