JoAnne A. Epps

JoAnne A. Epps

JoAnne Epps is a relentless champion of diversity in the workplace, frequently recognized for her work to advance diversity in the legal profession for women and racial and ethnic minorities. The author and co-author of several books and articles on principles of advocacy, JoAnne is known as an innovative leader and distinguished educator. She has been a consultant to legal employers for more than three decades and has taught and spoken domestically and internationally. In addition, JoAnne has served as an Assistant United States Attorney, municipal attorney and law professor.

JoAnne was a three-time honoree by Lawyers of Color magazine as one of the country’s 100 most influential black lawyers. The National Jurist magazine also named her one of the 25 most influential people in legal education for three consecutive years. And The Philadelphia Inquirer presented JoAnne with the Industry Icon Award for distinguished civic engagement.

A member of Temple University’s Beasley School of Law faculty since 1985, JoAnne currently serves as Acting President of Temple University. Prior, JoAnne served as Executive Vice President and Provost of Temple University and Dean of Temple Law School.

JoAnne is also active in business, government, and civic activities, including two Philadelphia mayor’s commission appointments. She is a board member of several non-profit organizations, including the Philadelphia Board of Ethics and the Defender Organization of Philadelphia. In addition, JoAnne has served in numerous leadership roles, including Co-Chair of the National Association of Women Lawyers Committee for the Evaluation of Supreme Court nominees and Vice-Chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Gender Task Force. She has also served on the Pennsylvania Judicial Independence Commission, the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Committee to Promote Fairness in the Judiciary and the Pennsylvania Commission for Justice Initiatives.

A native of Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, JoAnne received her bachelor’s degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and her J.D. from Yale Law School.

  • “Blackademia, Part I”, WURD Educational Series, 2018.
  • “Presenting to Diverse Audiences”, Oregon State Bar Association, 2016. Also presented as “Edward D. Ohlbaum Lecture” to Philadelphia Trial Lawyers” Association, 2016.
  • “The Components of Justice in the U.S.” at the Burlington, NJ Vicinage’s Diversity Week Celebration, Burlington, NJ, 2015.
  • “Renewing the Search for the Faces at the Bottom of the Well”, Summit at UC Irvine School of Law, “Does the Institution have a Role in Fostering Success for Students of Color and more specifically for African-American students?” (Panelist), 2014.
  • “The Importance of Oral Advocacy”, Martin Luther King Day of Service, Philadelphia Electrical and Technology Charter High School, 2014.
  • “The Persistent Challenges of Achieving Diversity” at the Pennsylvania Diversity Council, 5th Annual Philadelphia Diversity & Leadership Conference, 2014.
  • “Cracking the Code: Everything You Should Have Learned in Kindergarten (But Didn’t)” at Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter, American Council on Education Women in Higher Education Network Meeting (Keynote Speaker), 2012.
  • “Your Role in Advancing Women in the Legal Profession”, Regional Summit for Women in-House Counsel, Capture your Power – (co-sponsored by the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession and DELVACCA) (Introductory Remarks), 2010.
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office: Black History Month (Keynote Speaker) (2010)
  • Power 100 recipient by the Philadelphia Business Journal (2021)
  • Distinguished Leader by The Philadelphia Legal Intelligencer (2017)
  • Consular Award on Italian National Day by the Consulate General of Italy, Consul General Andrea Canepari (2017)
  • The Inaugural JoAnne Epps Award by the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia (2017)
  • Cecil B. Moore Award by Temple University Beasley School of Law, Black Law Student Association (2017)
  • Leadership in Diversity Award from Fisher & Phillips, LLP (2016)
  • Icon Award Recipient by The Philadelphia Inquirer (2016)
  • Women of Spirit Award by National Multiple Sclerosis Society (2016)
  • Spirit of Excellence Award by the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession (2016)
  • Champion of Diversity Award by Pepper Hamilton, LLP (2015)
  • M. Ashley Dickerson Award by the National Association of Women Lawyers (2015)
  • Honorary Degree Recipient, Trinity College (2015)
  • Champion of Diversity award, created to honor individuals who display a commitment to increase diversity in the legal field, awarded by Pepper Hamilton LLP (2015)
  • Honored by Senator Robert Casey during Black History Month for significant contributions to the Commonwealth (2015)
  • One of the 100 most influential black attorneys in the United States by On Being a Black Lawyer (OBABL) / Lawyers of Color Magazine (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
  • Justice Sonia Sotomayor Diversity Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association (2013)
  • One of the 25 most influential people in legal education by National Jurist Magazine (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
  • Minority Business Leader Award (Philadelphia Business Journal) (2011)
  • Torchbearer Award for Outstanding Leadership in Law (Women’s Christian Alliance of Philadelphia) (2011)

Professional Memberships

  • Board of Directors, American Bar Association Retirement Funds (2017-present)
  • Chair, Association of American Law Schools Conference for Pretenured Faculty of Color (2016)
  • Member, American Bar Association (1976-present)
  • Member, Philadelphia Bar Association (1981-present)

Community and Public Policy Organizations

  • Chair, Philadelphia Police Oversight Board (2015 – 2018)
  • Member, City of Philadelphia Board of Ethics (2014 – present)
  • Secretary, Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania (July 2015 – 2017)
  • Member, Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia Advisory Board (2012-2016)
  • Monitor, Settlement of Bailey v. City of Philadelphia (Stop-and-Frisk Procedures) (2011-2018)
  • Board of Directors, Committee of Seventy (2010-2014)
  • Pennsylvania Women’s Forum (2009 to Present, Treasurer 2011-12, VP 2012-13, President 2013-15)
  • Legal Services Corporation (LSC) Pro Bono Task Force (2011-2012)
  • Advisory Council, The Pennsylvania Prison Society (2009-2015)

Other Boards

  • Member, Board of Trustees, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (2018-present)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Gaming & Leisure Industries (2021-present)