Professor Mario Barnes Returns to UCI Law Faculty


Mario Barnes portrait

IRVINE, Calif. (Nov. 1, 2021) — The University of California, Irvine School of Law (UCI Law) is thrilled to announce Mario L. Barnes will rejoin the UCI Law faculty in January 2022 as full-time professor. Barnes left UCI Law in 2018 to become the Toni Rembe Dean and Professor of Law at the University of Washington School of Law. At the University of Washington, Barnes had success in creating new initiatives, advancing diversity, equity and inclusion among the faculty and students and restoring the law school to financial health.

At UCI Law, Barnes taught the inaugural class in 2009 and was instrumental in developing the Law School’s curriculum and sense of community. Additionally he served as the second senior associate dean for academic affairs, the first senior associate dean for faculty development and research, and helped launch the Center on Law, Equality and Race (CLEAR), among many other invaluable contributions at UCI Law. Barnes is a nationally recognized scholar for his research on the legal and social implications of race and gender, primarily in the areas of employment, education, criminal and military law. He is one of the leaders and organizers within the school of academics seeking to build stronger connections between empirical studies and Critical Race Theory. He writes and teaches in the areas of criminal law, constitutional law, national security law, and race and the law.

“UCI Law is proud to welcome back Mario Barnes to the Law School faculty,” said Bryant Garth, Interim Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus. “Mario is a renowned legal scholar and educator, and he is an individual who greatly enhances any law school community through his gracious personality and commitment to make the community better. He has already done so much for UCI Law in the past, and we welcome the contributions he will make upon his return. We are very fortunate indeed.”  

“My previous nine years at UCI Law were among the most rewarding of my professional life,” said Barnes.  “I am deeply devoted to public universities and the access they provide to individuals from all backgrounds to obtain a world-class education. Just as I was initially honored to be a part of building the first new public law school in California in over 40 years, I am incredibly excited to help chart the next phase of growth and innovation for this pioneering institution. Finally, I am thrilled to be rejoining a community that includes some of the most talented and devoted faculty, staff and students, with whom I have ever had the privilege to work.”

Before joining UCI Law, he was a faculty member at the University of Miami School of Law, where he was twice selected as Outstanding Law Professor – and prior to that, he was a William H. Hastie Fellow at the University of Wisconsin School of Law.

Prior to his academic career, Professor Barnes spent 12 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy, including service as a prosecutor, defense counsel, special assistant U.S. attorney, and on the commission that investigated the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. His reserve assignments included service with the Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command in San Diego, the Navy Inspector General's Office in Washington, D.C. and U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa. He retired from the Navy in 2013, after 23 years of combined active and reserve service.

Barnes earned both a bachelor’s degree (1990) and a J.D. from UC Berkeley (1995), and an LL.M. from the University of Wisconsin (2004). He was founder, Managing Editor and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the African-American Law & Policy Report (now Berkeley Journal of African-American Law and Policy).

Barnes is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, an elected member of the American Law Institute, and a Distinguished Fellow of the National Institute of Military Justice. He and his 2015 Ferguson Award co-recipient, Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Dean of Boston University School of Law, are the first to have won both the AALS Ferguson Award — which honors the late law professor and diplomat Clarence Clyde Ferguson Jr. — and the AALS Derrick A. Bell Jr. Award, given to junior faculty members who have made extraordinary contributions to legal education, the legal system or social justice. (Barnes received the Bell Award in 2008 and Onwuachi-Willig in 2006.)

About the University of California, Irvine School of Law

The University of California, Irvine School of Law is a visionary law school that provides an innovative and comprehensive curriculum, prioritizes public service and demonstrates a commitment to diversity within the legal profession. UCI Law students have completed more than 125,000 hours of pro bono work since 2009. Forty-seven percent of UCI Law’s J.D. graduates are people of color. At UCI Law, we are driven to improve our local, national and global communities by grappling with important issues as scholars, as practitioners and as teachers who are preparing the next generation of leaders. The collaborative and interdisciplinary community at UCI Law includes extraordinary students, world-renowned faculty, dedicated staff, engaged alumni and enthusiastic supporters. More information on UCI Law is available here. Please follow us on Twitter @UCILaw and Facebook @UCIrvineLaw.

Media Contact:

Colleen Taricani
Assistant Dean for Communications