Alumni Achievement Award

Joan L. Larsen, '90
2021 Heritage Honours Awards | Alumni Achievement Award Winner

This award recognizes the significant professional accomplishments of UNI graduates.

Joan Larsen graduated from UNI with highest honors and bachelor’s degrees in political science and Spanish. She would go on to attend Northwestern University School of Law, graduating first in her class in 1993. Larsen clerked for Judge David Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and then for Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. After her clerkship, Larsen returned to the Washington, D.C. office of Sidley Austin LLP, where she had worked as a law student.

In 1998, Larsen left Sidley to join the faculty of the University of Michigan Law School teaching constitutional law and criminal procedure until 2015. She served as deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel from 2002–2003.

In 2015, Larsen was appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder for an opening on the Michigan Supreme Court. In 2017, she was on President Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court justices. President Trump nominated Larsen to serve as United States circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 2017. In 2020, Larsen emerged on President Trump’s short list of replacements for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As a prominent academic, Larsen has written extensively on constitutional structure, civil rights and other areas of law. Joan and her husband, Adam Pritchard, have two children and live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Joan Larsen








Joan Larsen, '90