Sharon Fairley is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and has taught at the Law School since 2015. She became a Professor from Practice in 2019. Sharon's teaching responsibilities include criminal procedure, policing, and federal criminal law.
Before joining the Law School, Professor Fairley spent eight years as a federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, investigating and trying criminal cases involving illegal firearms possession, narcotics conspiracy, bank robbery/murder, murder for hire and economic espionage, among other criminal acts. She also served as the First Deputy Inspector General and General Counsel for the City of Chicago Office of the Inspector General. In December 2015, following the controversial officer-involved shooting death of Laquan McDonald, Professor Fairley was appointed to serve as the Chief Administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority, the agency responsible for police misconduct investigations. She was also responsible for creating and building Chicago's Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
Professor Fairley's areas of academic inquiry focus on criminal justice reform with an emphasis on constitutional policing and police accountability. She frequently writes and speaks about use of force by law enforcement, civilian oversight of law enforcement, and other police reform strategies.
Professor Fairley graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with a BS degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and also holds an MBA in Marketing from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the Council on Criminal Justice.