Her appointment was announced by Dean Chris Guthrie.
Procaccini was a Climenko Fellow at Harvard Law School from 2020 to 2022, where her research focused on political rights and the courts. She also served a two-year fellowship with the Yale Law School Information Society Project, where her research focused on modern applications of First Amendment law to digital political speech and where she supervised students in the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic. At Yale Law, she also served for two years as a lecturer in law, co-teaching a course in The Roberts Court and Freedom of Speech.
“Francesca Procaccini is an experienced litigator and gifted scholar whom we are lucky to have recruited to Vanderbilt. She has already demonstrated great promise as a scholar and teacher,” Guthrie said.
Before entering the legal academy, Procaccini worked in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice for three years. She was a legal fellow in the White House Counsel’s Office in 2013.
Procaccini earned her law degree cum laude at Harvard Law School, where she was executive editor of the Harvard Law and Policy Review and articles editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Barnard College, where she studied political science and received the Speranza Price for Excellence in Italian Studies.
After law school, she was a law clerk for Judge Jerome Farris, then of the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit.
Her scholarly articles include “Equal Speech Protection,” published in the Virginia Law Review in 2022, and “Reconstructing State Republicans,” which appeared in the Fordham Law Review in 2021. Her article, “(E)racing Speech in School,” is forthcoming in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. She has also worked as a contributor for Lawfare, written a piece on the legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg for The Atlantic, and published an article on political gerrymandering in the Maryland Bar Journal.
“Vanderbilt Law brings a uniquely bright, diverse and inspired body of future lawyers together, and I am excited to be here to help steer these future change-makers and advocates,” Procaccini said.
At Vanderbilt, she will teach Constitutional Law and Federal Courts.