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John Trasviña

Dean of the School of Law

John Trasviña is the 18th dean of the USF School of Law. Dean Trasviña received his AB from Harvard University in 1980 and his JD from Stanford Law School in 1983.

Most recently, Dean Trasviña was the assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Dean Trasviña was appointed by President Obama in 2009, and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He led more than 580 employees in 43 offices across the country to enforce the nation’s fair housing laws. Previously, he served as president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), where he oversaw six litigation and policy offices across the country, expanded services, and significantly increased fundraising efforts. 

A native San Franciscan, Dean Trasviña began his career as a deputy city attorney here in 1983 before joining MALDEF in Washington, D.C., as a legislative attorney in 1985. He later worked for U.S. Sen. Paul Simon as general counsel and staff director for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed Dean Trasviña special counsel for immigration-related unfair employment practices. In that capacity, he led the only federal government office devoted solely to immigrant workplace rights and was the highest ranking Latino attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Dean Trasviña previously taught immigration law at Stanford Law School and was director of the Discrimination Research Center in Berkeley. He was a member of the San Francisco Elections Commission and ABA Commission on Immigration, president of the Harvard Club of San Francisco, and a board member of the La Raza Lawyers Association, Latino Issues Forum, Campaign for College Opportunity, Lowell High School Alumni Association, Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership, and Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

  • AB, Harvard University
  • JD, Stanford University
Prior Experience
  • Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • President and General Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
  • Director, Discrimination Research Center
  • Immigration Law Adjunct Instructor, Stanford University
  • Special Counsel for Immigration-related Unfair Employment Practices, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Margaret Cruz Trailblazer Award, San Francisco Latino Democratic Club, 2013
  • Benefit Reception Honoree, Communities for a New California, 2013
  • John Henry Hobart Fellow in Residence, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY, 2013
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia, 2012
  • Public Service Award, Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys, 2012
  • Person of the Year, Asian Real Estate Association of America, 2011
  • Celebration of Justice Honoree, Chinese for Affirmative Action, San Francisco, 2009
  • President's Award, Pasadena Chapter of the NAACP, 2009
  • Don Quixote Award for Public Leadership, San Antonio Mexican American Physicians Association, 2009
  • Attorney of the Year, Hispanic National Bar Association, 2006
"Opinion: The Supreme Court should uphold the Fair Housing Act in its entirety"Fox News Latino01/22/15
"Decline in Law School Enrollment Slows"The San Francisco Daily Journal09/19/14
"State Bar to hold annual convention in SD next week"The Daily Transcript09/05/14
"She lays down law to tech's giants"San Francisco Chronicle08/10/14
"Bill Callejo, always at his wife’s side, always her biggest supporter and confidant"The Dallas Morning News05/16/14
"War on poverty has long way to go in Sunnydale housing project"Al Jazeera America News01/07/14
USF Law Dean Sees Promise in ChinaThe Recorder10/14/13
"The Charge of Law Schools"The Huffington Post09/20/13
"The Charge of Law Schools"Daily Journal08/29/13
2 Years for Law School?Inside Higher Ed08/26/13
"Tech Circuit: People, Places, Things — Pacific Time Zone Edition"
Law Technology News07/26/13
"People Watch: Tim Jordan has been named vice chancellor, CFO at Antioch University"University Business05/24/13
"University of San Francisco Finds Next Law Dean at HUD"The National Law Journal05/15/13
"University of San Francisco School of Law Appoints John Trasvina as Dean"JD Journal05/14/13
"USF Law School Announces New Dean"Daily Journal05/06/13
"HUD Assistant Secretary John Trasviña Named Dean of University of San Francisco School of Law"San Francisco Chronicle05/03/13
"John Trasviña | People on the Move"Silicon Valley Business Journal05/03/13
    Law Review and Journal Articles
      Book Contributions
        Opinion Pieces and Blog Posts
          Other Publications
              Court Citation of Research
                  Testimony and Hearings
                    Written Testimony and Commentary
                      Advisor or Consultant
                          Symposia Organization
                            Professional Membership
                            • Board Member, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, 2015
                            • Board Member, Campaign for College Opportunity, Los Angeles, CA, 2006-2009
                            • Board Member, Harvard Club of Southern California, 2006
                            • President, Harvard Club of San Francisco, 2004 (Board member, 2001-03)
                            • Member, San Francisco City and County Elections Commission, 2004
                            • Board Member, League of Women Voters, San Francisco Chapter, 2002
                            • Board Member, La Raza Lawyers Association of San Francisco, 2001-02
                            • Board Member, CAPAL, Washington, D.C., 1993-2001
                            • National Vice President, Hispanic National Bar Association, 1993-94
                            • President, Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia, 1990-91, 1991-92
                            • Commissioner, District of Columbia Commission on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs, 1989-93
                            • Commissioner, Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections, City and County of San Francisco, 1980-84
                              Other Service
                              • Workshop leader, "Advancing Civil Rights Through Law" at the "All Things Law Day" event, San Francisco State University.
                              • Mentor on the panel "Celebrate Giving, Strengthen Latino Leadership," Hispanics in Philanthropy conference. (Other panelists were Leticia Peguero, Cynthia River, Luz Vega and Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker.)
                              • Master of Ceremonies, Noche de Gala at the Intercontinental Hotel, San Francisco, Calif. (The Gala is an event to appreciate those who've won awards for their work on social justice, civil rights and other community trailblazers.)
                              • Keynote speaker, Annual Patiño Banquet, hosted by UC Davis La Raza Student Association.
                              • International Advisory Board Member, The Mexican Museum, 2013-