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 Senior Advisor to the 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.


  • American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity Spirit of Excellence Award
  • National Association of Women Lawyers M. Ashley Dickerson Award
  • Philadelphia Bar Association’s Justice Sonia Sotomayor Diversity Award  and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Award for her efforts to promote diversity and advance women in the profession
  • Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia awarded JoAnne an honor in her name – the Inaugural JoAnne Epps Award – to recognize her work on behalf of lawyers of color.
  • In commemoration of Black History Month, JoAnne was honored by U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. on the Senate floor.