About Fred Lawrence

Frederick M. Lawrence

Frederick M. Lawrence is Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School, Professor of Politics at Brandeis University, and the former President of Brandeis.

An accomplished scholar, teacher and attorney, Lawrence is one of the nation’s leading experts on civil rights, free expression and bias crimes. He has published widely and lectured internationally and is the author of Punishing Hate: Bias Crimes Under American Law (Harvard University Press), examining bias-motivated violence and the laws governing how such violence is punished in the United States. He has testified before Congress concerning federal hate crime legislation, was the key-note speaker at the meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on biasmotivated violence, was a Senior Research Fellow at University College London, and the recipient of a Ford Foundation grant to study bias-motivated violence in the UK.

Lawrence serves on the National Commission of the Anti-Defamation League, the Board of Trustees of Beyond Conflict, and the Advisory Board of RANE (Risk Assistance Network + Exchange) and has been a Trustee of Williams College and WGBH. As president of Brandeis, Lawrence strengthened ties between the university and its alumni and focused on sustaining the university’s historical commitment to educational access through financial aid. His accomplishments during his presidency included restoring fiscal stability to the university and overseeing record setting increases in admissions applications, undergraduate financial aid and the university’s endowment. An acclaimed teacher, Lawrence taught an undergraduate seminar on punishment and crime that was one of the most popular undergraduate courses offered at Brandeis. He supported student innovation including bVIEW (Brandeis Visions for Israel in an Evolving World), a conference by and for college students focused on future-oriented programming that depolarizes campus conversations about Israel, and ‘Deis Impact, Brandeis’ annual student-run festival of social justice.

Lawrence was widely regarded as a champion of the fine arts. He revitalized the university’s Rose Art Museum, recruited and hired a dynamic new museum director, and commissioned the Light of Reason sculpture, creating a dynamic outdoor venue. Prior to Brandeis, Lawrence was dean and Robert Kramer Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School from 2005 to 2010. During his time at GW Law, Lawrence recruited the strongest classes in the school’s history, and his five years as dean were five of the six highest fund-raising years in the school’s history. He was Professor of Law at Boston University School of Law from 1988 to 2005, during which time he served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and received the Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching, the university’s highest teaching honor.

Lawrence’s legal career was distinguished by service as an assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York in the 1980s, where he became chief of the Civil Rights Unit. Lawrence received a bachelor’s degree in 1977 from Williams College magna cum laude and a law degree in 1980 from Yale Law School where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal.

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