March 2012 Bar Bulletin
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Profile / Mary Fan

A Quick Study

By Daron Anderson


Taking a peek at her resume, no one would guess that Mary Fan graduated from law school just nine years ago. From being published by Oxford University Press to working as a federal prosecutor and as an associate legal officer at a United Nations criminal tribunal, to speaking around the nation and teaching as an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law, Fan is becoming a well-known expert in her field of U.S. and international criminal law and procedure, and privacy.

"I am drawn to these areas because of experiences in the field and the honor of working for great leaders who are forging the law and practice in these domains," Fan said.

Many leaders Fan has worked for have inspired her passion for the field. As a former federal prosecutor, she worked for U.S. Attorney Carol Lam, who advanced the quality of criminal justice in the Southern District of California. Fan also worked with eminent scholar and jurist Judge John T. Noonan, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where she gained insight into criminal law because of the circuit's large criminal and immigration caseload.

Fan said she also is grateful for the time she spent with Judge O-Gon Kwon, past vice president of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and a keen international criminal proceduralist.

In addition to being inspired by her mentors, Fan said she pursues work in criminal law because the human interests and stakes in these domains are high and acute.

"These areas of law are riven with fierce politics, human need, and often human suffering," she said. "Law, policy and the translation of law and policy in practice can help alleviate the harms and heighten the benefits."

Recently, Fan co-authored a criminal law textbook with Antonio A. Cassese, Guido G. Acquaviva and Alex A. Whiting, titled International Criminal Law: Cases and Commen­tary.

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