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Joyce Vance

Joyce Vance

Senior Fellow

Joyce Vance is a Brennan Center senior fellow who lends her expertise as a former federal prosecutor to writing and commenting on high-profile court cases and election-related matters.

She is a distinguished professor of the practice of law at the University of Alabama School of Law, where she has taught since 2017, focusing on criminal law and democratic institutions. She is also a legal analyst for NBC and MSNBC and co-host of the legal podcasts #SistersInLaw and Cafe Insider.

Previously, Vance served as the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 2009 to 2017 during the Obama administration. She served on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys from 2009 to 2011 and co-chaired its criminal practice subcommittee from 2009 to 2017. Among her notable achievements were prosecuting the first material support of terrorism case in Alabama and successfully challenging the state’s 2011 anti-immigration law. Vance also created the first civil rights enforcement unit in an Alabama U.S. attorney’s office.

Before becoming the U.S. attorney, Vance spent 18 years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Alabama. She served as a criminal prosecutor for 10 years, then moved to the appellate division in 2002 and became chief of that division in 2005. Prior to that, she was a litigator in private practice at the firms now known as Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in Birmingham, Alabama, and ArentFox Schiff in Washington, DC.

Vance’s writing has appeared in outlets including the Yale Law Journal, the Washington Post, the New York TimesJust Security, and Slate.

Vance is a graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and the University of Virginia School of Law.