Meet David Joanson, CERL’s new executive director

CERL is thrilled to announce that David Joanson, who served for over two decades in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), has joined the center as executive director. In this capacity, he will lead CERL and its team on research projects, publications, conferences and symposia, advocacy projects, and the summer internship program.

Joanson succeeds Mark Fallon who assumed the interim role in November 2021. Fallon will remain a member of the CERL Advisory Council and continue his leadership of the 2022 CERL Summer Internship Program through the first week of August to ensure a smooth transition.

“We are delighted to have Dave Joanson join CERL as our next executive director,” said Claire Finkelstein, founder and faculty director of CERL. “Dave has had a long and distinguished career as a public servant defending and enforcing the rule of law in federal law enforcement. His expertise in multiple areas of national security law will be invaluable to CERL moving forward. We are are excited to see the center evolve under his leadership.”

“Coming from a long career at an agency devoted to the cause of justice and the rule of law, I’m proud to continue to work to further those ideals and the ethics that underpin them. In my new role, I hope to help support and lead CERL as it builds on the important contributions it has already made and advance CERL’s worthy non-partisan mission of preserving and promoting ethics and the rule of law across multiple vital spheres.”

—David Joanson

About David Joanson

David Joanson is the executive director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law at Penn. He entered on duty as a Special Agent with the FBI in 1998 and was assigned to the Philadelphia Division’s general white collar crime squad where he was the case agent on some of the division’s most significant white collar investigations and successful prosecutions. In 2007, Joanson was appointed as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In 2010, Joanson was promoted to the position of Supervisory Special Agent and Associate Division Counsel. In 2014, Joanson was promoted to the position of Chief Division Counsel for the Philadelphia Division of the FBI. The Philadelphia Division is the FBI’s 9th largest office with over 320 agents and 700 total employees.

Joanson served as the Chief Ethics Officer for the FBI in Philadelphia and has attained a Leadership Professional in Ethics and Compliance Certification. Joanson is an active member of the State Bar of California as well as the Southern, Central, Northern and Eastern Districts of California and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.


J.D. California Western School of Law, San Diego, California
B.A. Stony Brook University, New York

Mailing List


Submissions to The Rule of Law Post. Please refer to CERL’s submission guidelines for additional details on the blog post format. Should your submission be accepted, we ask that you please complete the Agreement to Transfer Copyright.

Please upload text in one document under 6 mb. Preferred format as a simple text file (.txt).

Share Meet David Joanson, CERL’s new executive director on:

Meet David Joanson, CERL’s new executive director