John Jeffries joined the Virginia law faculty two years after earning his law degree in 1973. His primary research and teaching interests are civil rights, federal courts, criminal law, and constitutional law. Jeffries has co-authored casebooks in civil rights, federal courts, and criminal law and has published a variety of articles in those fields. He also wrote a biography of Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr.
In 1986, Jeffries was appointed the inaugural Emerson Spies Professor of Law, a position created to honor a long-time teacher and former dean. He served as academic associate dean from 1994 to 1999, acting dean during the fall semester of 1999, and dean from 2001 to 2008. In 2017 he received the Thomas Jefferson Award, which is the highest honor given to members of the University community. From August 2018 to January 2021 he was senior vice president for advancement at the University of Virginia. In addition to teaching in the Law School, he serves as counselor to UVA President Jim Ryan. Jeffries is a member of the American Law Institute and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
During law school, Jeffries served as editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Review. He received the Z Award for the highest academic average and the Woods Prize for the outstanding graduate. Immediately after graduation, he clerked for Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., before serving in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant.
Scholarship Profile: A Central Figure at Virginia Law (Virginia Journal 2014).