Andrew Manuel Crespo ’08 has been promoted to professor of law at Harvard Law School, effective July 1, 2019. Crespo, who joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 2015, is the first Latino to be promoted to a tenured position on the Harvard Law School faculty.
“Andrew Crespo’s highly influential research on our criminal justice system reflects deep knowledge acquired through years as a public defender, a profound understanding of how institutions work, and a bold but grounded vision of how to make the criminal justice system fairer and more effective,” said Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning ’85. “Andrew is also a beloved teacher, mentor, and role model to his students and a tremendous colleague and institutional contributor within the Law School and beyond.”
“Harvard Law School launched my legal career not once, but twice,” Crespo said. “First, it prepared me, better than any other law school could, to go out and defend the least powerful members of our society when they confront an overwhelming and often unjust penal system. Then, it welcomed me back as a professor, setting me on my path as an academic and affording me the rare and special opportunity to teach a new generation of leaders and reformers—people who will seek and promote justice not only in our penal system but across the country and throughout the world. I feel so honored to be part of this special institution.”
Since joining the faculty, Crespo has emerged as a prominent scholar in the field of criminal procedure, with his research focusing on the institutional design and administration of the criminal justice system and the administrative role that courts play in regulating law enforcement behavior. Crespo’s scholarly work, which has appeared or is forthcoming in the Harvard Law Review, the Columbia Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal, has been honored by the Association of American Law Schools and has been profiled in The New York Times. Beyond his scholarly publications, Crespo also writes regularly about legal issues for broader public audiences, with his contributions appearing in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, the Harvard Law and Policy Review, and online at Lawfare, Just Security and Take Care.
Prior to beginning his academic career, Crespo served as a staff attorney with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where he represented adults and juveniles charged with serious felonies, ranging from armed robberies, to burglaries, to homicides. As a member of the faculty, Crespo carries that same commitment to public-interest lawyering to campus, where he organizes the law school’s annual public interest fundraiser, spearheaded its efforts to aid a hurricane-battered Puerto Rico, and is launching a new impact-litigation clinical course that will work on behalf of indigent criminal defendants.
Crespo graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2008, where he served as president of the Harvard Law Review, the first Latino to hold that position. Following law school, he served for three years as a law clerk, initially to the late Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, then to Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer ’64 of the U.S. Supreme Court, and finally to Associate Justice Elena Kagan ’86 during her inaugural term on the Court.
Raised in Monroe, N.Y., Crespo graduated from Harvard College in 2005. He is married to fellow Harvard Law School graduate Abigail Shafroth ’08, a civil rights attorney and consumer justice advocate in Boston.