John Trasviña

Dean of the School of Law

Dean • Full-Time Faculty

(415) 422-6304


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
General Counsel and Staff Director, U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution
Immigration Law
Housing Law
Employment Law
Civil Rights
Affirmative Action
Legal Education
Awards & Distinctions

The 2015 State Bar Education Pipeline Award, State Bar Annual Meeting, 2015

Ohtli Award, Hispanic National Bar Association, 2015

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

Presenter, “Paving the Way for the Next Generation of Latino Lawyers and Leaders,” Marin Latino Leaders Luncheon, San Rafael, CA (March, 2016)
Commentator, “Opening Remarks,” Alternative Dispute Resolution-Northern California Conference, “Conflict Transformation, The Power of The Story!,” University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA (March 2016)
Panelist, “Responding to the Crises of Our Communities: From Sexual Assault to Black Live Matter, and Beyond,” American Bar Association's Annual Deans’ Workshop, San Francisco, CA (February, 2016)
Commentator, “St. Thomas More Society Red Mass Dinner,” San Francisco, CA (November, 2015)
Commentator, “Attended and Provided Remarks,” Legal Services Corporation National Quarterly Board Meeting, California Supreme Court, Sacramento, CA (October, 2015)
Presenter, Constitution Day, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA (September, 2015)
Presenter, “Keynote speaker,” Annual Patiño Banquet, hosted by UC Davis La Raza Student Association, Davis, CA (March, 2015)
Presenter, “Master of ceremonies,” San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association's Noche de Gala, InterContinental Hotel, San Francisco, CA (March, 2015)
Workshop Leader, “Advancing Civil Rights Through Law,” All Things Law Day, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA (2015)
Panelist, “Celebrate Giving, Strengthen Latino Leadership,” Hispanics in Philanthropy Conference and Giving Gala, San Francisco, CA (February, 2015)
"The U.S. Just Threw Down the Hammer Over North Carolina’s Transgender Bathroom Law", TIME and Fortune, 05/05/2016
"Job Shadowing Program Expands in 2016", The Bar Association of San Francisco Bulletin, 05/04/2016
"Garland is a Consensus-Builder", KCBS Radio, 03/17/2016
"Garland Will Work to Build Majority", KTVU Channel 2 News, 03/17/2016
"Judge Garland Not a Predictable Vote", KGO-SF: Channel 7 News, 03/17/2016
"SCOTUS nominee a solid legal choice", KGO-SF: Channel 7 News, 02/16/2016
"Merrick Garland could be an unpredictable vote on high court", San Francisco Chronicle, 03/17/2016
"In Merrick Gerland, Former Clerks See Consensus Builder", The Recorder, 03/16/2016
"Judge Koh Would Bring Silicon Valley To 9th Circ.", Law360, 02/03/2016
"An Asian American in U.S. high court after Scalia's death?",, 02/16/2016
KGO-SF: John Trasviña on Supreme Court Appointment, KGO-SF: Channel 7 News, 02/14/2016
"Ted Cruz says it's always been that babies born to U.S. citizens abroad are citizens from birth", PoliFact, 09/04/2015
"The Case at the Heart of the Birthright Citizenship Battle", MSNBC, 08/21/2015
"Opinion: The Supreme Court should uphold the Fair Housing Act in its entirety", Fox News Latino, 01/22/2015
"Decline in Law School Enrollment Slows", The San Francisco Daily Journal, 09/19/2014
"State Bar to hold annual convention in SD next week", The Daily Transcript, 09/05/2014
"She lays down law to tech's giants", San Francisco Chronicle, 08/10/2014
"Bill Callejo, always at his wife’s side, always her biggest supporter and confidant", The Dallas Morning News, 05/16/2014
"War on poverty has long way to go in Sunnydale housing project", Al Jazeera America News, 01/07/2014
"USF Law Dean Sees Promise in China", The Recorder, 10/14/2013
"The Charge of Law Schools", The Huffington Post, 09/20/2013
"The Charge of Law Schools", Daily Journal, 08/29/2013
"Two Years for Law School?", Inside Higher Ed, 08/26/2013
"Tech Circuit: People, Places, Things — Pacific Time Zone Edition", Law Technology News, 07/26/2013
"People Watch: Tim Jordan has been named vice chancellor, CFO at Antioch University", University Business, 05/24/2013
"University of San Francisco Finds Next Law Dean at HUD", The National Law Journal, 05/15/2013
"University of San Francisco School of Law Appoints John Trasvina as Dean", JD Journal, 05/14/2013
"USF Law School Announces New Dean", Daily Journal, 05/06/2013
"HUD Assistant Secretary John Trasviña Named Dean of University of San Francisco School of Law", San Francisco Chronicle, 05/03/2013
"John Trasviña | People on the Move", Silicon Valley Business Journal, 05/03/2013
Board Member, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute (2015)
Member, International Advisory Board, The Mexican Museum (2013)
Board Member, Campaign for College Opportunity, Los Angeles, CA (2006)
Board Member, Harvard Club of Southern California (2006)
President, Harvard Club of San Francisco (2004)
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)
Board Member, CAPAL, Washington, D.C. (1993)
National Vice President, Hispanic National Bar Association (1993)
President, Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia (1990)
Commissioner, Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections, City and County of San Francisco (1980)