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Andrew Manuel Crespo

Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law

Executive Faculty Director, Institute to End Mass Incarceration

Andrew M. Crespo
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Andrew Manuel Crespo is the Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where he teaches criminal law and procedure and serves as the Executive Faculty Director of the Institute to End Mass Incarceration. Professor Crespo’s research and scholarly expertise center on the institutional design, legal frameworks, and power structures of the American penal system, and on the relationship between lawyers, organizers, and social movement actors in effecting transformational change. His scholarship has been honored by the Association of American Law Schools and profiled in The New York Times, with his leading articles appearing in the Harvard Law Reviewthe Columbia Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal. Together with John Rappaport, he is the author of Criminal Law and the American Penal System, an innovative forthcoming casebook that recasts the traditionally required criminal law course as a class about the role law and lawyers have played in building and sustaining American mass incarceration.

Nationally recognized for his expertise on a range of legal issues, Professor Crespo’s public commentary can be found in The New York TimesThe Washington Post, The Boston Globe, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and online at Lawfare, Just Security, Take Care, and Inquest, where he is a founding editor and Co-Editor in Chief. A publicly engaged academic, he regularly shares legal analyses and commentary in print, on television, and on the radio, with appearances on CNN, NPR’s On Point and All Things Considered, and NBC’s Meet the Press.

Through his leadership of the Institute to End Mass Incarceration, Professor Crespo works to develop modes of legal practice that integrate lawyers effectively and responsibly into organizer-led anti-carceral campaigns and movements. Related to that work, he serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Leading Change Network, an international nonprofit dedicated to teaching community organizing and to supporting organizers working to build more just and democratic societies across the globe. Professor Crespo also serves on the Academic Advisory Board of the American Constitution Society, the Board of Trustees of the Harvard Law Review Association, the Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure for the state of Massachusetts, and as an elected member of the American Law Institute. In 2021, at the appointment of President Biden, he served as a Commissioner on the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States.  

Prior to beginning his academic career, Professor Crespo served as a Staff Attorney with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where he represented over one hundred adults and juveniles charged with serious felonies, ranging from armed robberies, to burglaries, to homicides. As a member of the Harvard Law School faculty he continues to be active in litigation, authoring merits stage and amicus briefs on various issues, often in close collaboration with his students.   

Professor 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, Professor Crespo served for three years as a law clerk, initially to Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, then to Associate Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court, and finally to Associate Justice Elena Kagan during her inaugural term on the Court.  Following his time as a public defender, Professor Crespo returned to Harvard as an assistant professor of law in 2015. In 2019, he became the first Latino promoted to a tenured position on the law school’s faculty.


  • A.B. Harvard University, 2005
  • J.D. Harvard Law School, 2008

Academic Appointment and Employment History

  • Professor of Law, Harvard Law School (2019 - Present)
    Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • Assistant Professor of Law, Harvard Law School (2015 - 2019)
    Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • Staff Attorney, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (2011 - 2014)
    Washington, District of Columbia, United States

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia, United States (2010)
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts (2019)
  • U.S. Supreme Court, United States (2015)


  • Justice Elena Kagan, U.S. Supreme Court, 2010 - 2011
  • Justice Stephen G. Breyer, U.S. Supreme Court, 2009 - 2010
  • Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 2008 - 2009

Board Memberships

  • Board of Academic Advisors, American Constitution Society (2018 - Present)
  • Standing Advisory Committee for the Rules of Criminal Procedure, Commonwealth of Massachusetts (2018 - Present)

Honors and Awards

  • AALS Criminal Justice Section, Junior Scholar Paper of the Year (Awards)
    January 2015

Representative Publications

View all publications by Andrew Manuel Crespo