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Lucian Dervan


Lucian E. Dervan is a Professor of Law and Director of Criminal Justice Studies at Belmont University College of Law. He focuses on domestic and international criminal law and is the recipient of numerous awards for his teaching and scholarship.

Professor Dervan is the author of two books and dozens of book chapters and articles. He is also the founder and author of The Plea Bargaining Blog and a contributing editor to the White Collar Crime Prof Blog (a member of the Law Professor Blogs Network). He also regularly lectures regarding criminal law and has appeared before the United States House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee on two occasions and recently testified before the Federal Senate of Brazil regarding pending plea bargaining legislation. 

In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Professor Dervan currently serves on the ABA Board of Governors and previously served as Chair of the ABA Criminal Justice Section. He is also the Chair of the ABA CJS Global White Collar Crime Institute and serves on the Advisory Committee of the NACDL White Collar Criminal Defense College at Stetson.

Prior to joining the academy, Professor Dervan served as a law clerk to the Honorable Phyllis A. Kravitch of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He also practiced law with King & Spalding LLP and Ford & Harrison LLP. At King & Spalding LLP, Professor Dervan was a member of the Special Matters and Government Investigations team. The Special Matters team was established by former United States Attorney General Griffin B. Bell in 1989 to represent corporations and individuals in complex federal and state criminal investigations, internal investigations, and Congressional investigations, as well as in related civil and regulatory proceedings.

Professor Dervan received his Juris Doctorate with High Honors from Emory University School of Law, where he was an Emory Scholar, served as an Articles Editor for the Emory Law Journal, and was elected a member of the Order of the Coif.  He received his Bachelor of Arts with Honors from Davidson College.

You can follow him on Twitter at @LucianDervan.

Areas of expertise: Criminal law, white collar crime, plea bargaining, sentencing law, criminal justice




International Criminal Law: Cases and Materials (4th Edition), Carolina Academic Press (2016) (with Ellen S. Podgor and Roger S. Clark).

Peeling the Orange: White Collar Crime Trial Problem, Carolina Academic Press (2016) (with Ellen S. Podgor).

Book Chapters

Arriving at a System of Pleas: The History and State of Plea Bargaining. A System of Pleas (Vanessa A. Edkins and Allison D. Redlich eds., Oxford University Press) (2018).

Investigating and Prosecuting White-Collar Crime, Oxford Handbook of White-Collar Crime (Shanna R. Van Slyke, Michael L. Benson, and Francis T. Cullen eds., Oxford University Press) (2016) (with Ellen S. Podgor).

Global Bribery: The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act, Internal Investigations (Markus Ruebenstahl ed., C.F. Muller Verlag 2012) (with Markus Ruebenstahl and Hannah Piel) (2d edition forthcoming).

The 21st Century World of White Collar Criminal Defense, Careers in Criminal Justice 39-44 (Ellen Brotman ed., American Bar Association 2010).

Plea Bargaining’s Survival: Financial Crimes Plea Bargaining, A Continued Triumph in a Post-Enron World, Corporate Crimes: Prosecutorial Issues 174-219 (R. Satyanarayana ed., Amicus Books 2010).

Law Review Articles

State of the States: A Survey of Statutory Law and Court Rules Pertaining to Guilty Pleas Across the United States, Behavioral Sciences & The Law (forthcoming 2019) (with Dr. Vanessa Edkins, Dr. Tina Zottoli, Dr. Allison Redlich, Dr. Christopher King, Dr. Charles Ewing, and Dr. Tarika Kapur).

Bargained Justice: The History, Psychology, and Future of Plea Bargaining, Federal Sentencing Reporter (2019).

Class v. United States: Bargained Justice and a System of Efficiencies, Cato Supreme Court Review (2018).

Freedom Now or a Future Later: Pitting the Lasting Implications of Collateral Consequences against Pretrial Detention in Decisions to Plead Guilty, Psychology, Public Policy, and Law (2018) (with Dr. Vanessa A. Edkins).

Voices on Innocence, 68 Florida Law Review 1569 (2016) (with Richard A. Leo, Meghan J. Ryan, Valena E. Beety, Gregory M. Gilchrist, and William W. Berry III). | SSRN

Corporate Criminal Liability, Moral Culpability, and the Yates Memo, 46 Stetson Law Review 111 (2016). | SSRN

“White Collar Crime”: Still Hazy After All These Years, 50 Georgia Law Review 1 (Lead Article) (2016) (with Ellen S. Podgor). | SSRN

Sentencing the Wolf of Wall Street: From Leniency to Uncertainty, 61 Wayne State Law Review 91 (2015) (solicited symposium article). | SSRN

The Quest for Finality: Five Stories of White Collar Criminal Prosecution, 4 Wake Forest Journal of Law & Policy 91 (2014) (solicited symposium article). | SSRN

White Collar Over-Criminalization: Deterrence, Plea Bargaining, and the Loss of Innocence, 101 Kentucky Law Journal 723 (2013). | SSRN

The Innocent Defendant’s Dilemma: An Innovative Empirical Study of Plea Bargaining’s Innocence Problem, 103 Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 1 (2013) (with Dr. Vanessa A. Edkins). | SSRN

Pleading Innocents:  Laboratory Evidence of Plea Bargaining’s Innocence Problem, 21 Current Research in Social Psychology 14 (2013) (peer reviewed) (with Dr. Vanessa A. Edkins). | SSRN

Introduction: Guantanamo Bay: What Next? 37 Southern Illinois University Law Journal 487 (2013) (symposium introduction).

Bargained Justice: Plea Bargaining’s Innocence Problem and the Brady Safety-Valve, 2012 Utah Law Review 51 (2012). | SSRN

International White Collar Crime and the Globalization of Internal Investigations, 39 Fordham Urban Law Journal 361 (2012) (solicited article). | SSRN 

Translated into Chinese and reprinted in the KoGuan Law School Shanghai Jiao Tong University Law Review (2016).

Re-Evaluating Corporate Criminal Liability: The DOJ’s Internal Moral Culpability Standard for Corporate Criminal Liability, 41 Stetson Law Review 7 (2011) (symposium article).

America’s Prison Culture in an International Context: An Examination of Prisons in America, Israel, and the Netherlands, 22 Stanford Law & Policy Review 413 (2011). | SSRN

Over-Criminalization 2.0: The Symbiotic Relationship Between Plea Bargaining and Overcriminalization, 7 The Journal of Law, Economics, and Policy 645 (2011) (George Mason University School of Law) (solicited response to article by Prof. Larry Ribstein, Univ. of Illinois College of Law). | SSRN

Information Warfare and Civilian Populations: How the Law of War Addresses a Fear of the Unknown, 3 Goettingen Journal of International Law 373 (2011) (symposium article). | SSRN

The Surprising Lessons from Plea Bargaining in the Shadow of Terror, 27 Georgia State University Law Review 239 (2010). | SSRN

A Dedication to Service: An Introduction to Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler’s Commencement Address, 34 Southern Illinois University Law Journal 797 (2010).

Plea Bargaining’s Survival: Financial Crimes Plea Bargaining, A Continued Triumph in a Post-Enron World, 60 Oklahoma Law Review 451 (2007). | SSRN

Georgia’s Noble Revolution: Three Governors, Two Armies, the Georgia Supreme Court and the Gubernatorial Election of 1946, 15 Journal of Southern Legal History 167 (2007). | SSRN  

Selective Conceptions of Federalism: The Selective Use of History in the Supreme Court’s States’ Rights Opinions, 50 Emory Law Journal 1295 (2001) (Comment). | SSRN

Magazine, Newspaper, Bar Journal, and Trade Journal Articles

A Brief History of the Road to the International Criminal Court, ABA Paris Sessions Conference (2018).

Internal Investigations and the Evolving Fate of Privilege, 2 Compliance Elliance Journal 3 (2016). | SSRN

The Injustice of the Plea-Bargain System, Wall Street Journal, A13 (December 4, 2015).

International White Collar Crime and Deferred Prosecution Agreements, ABA CJS White Collar Crime Committee Newsletter (Winter 2014). | SSRN

Responding to Potential Employee Misconduct in the Age of the Whistleblower: Foreseeing and Avoiding Hidden Dangers, 3 Bloomberg Corporate Law Journal 670 (2008). | SSRN

Family and Medical Leave Act: Broad Implications and New Application, Florida Government Finance Officers Association Newsletter (April/May 2008).

The Ever Changing Summit: The Government’s New Corporate Cooperation Standards in the Context of Investigative Employee Interviews, Wall Street Lawyer (May 2006) (with Paul. B. Murphy).  

Attorney-Client Privilege & Employee Interviews in Internal Investigations, Washington Legal Foundation, Contemporary Legal Notes Series, No. 49 (March 2006) (with Paul B. Murphy), reprinted at 20 No. 11 Andrews White-Collar Crime Reporter 1 (2006), 22 No. 4 Andrews’ Corporate Officers and Directors Liability Litigations Reporter 1 (2006), 16 No. 3 Andrews’ Professional Liability Reporter 1 (2006), and 12 No. 21 Andrews’ Derivatives Litigations Reporter 1 (2006). 

Watching Your Step: Avoiding the Pitfalls and Perils When Conducting Internal Investigations, 16 ALAS Loss Prevention Journal 2 (Summer 2005) (with Paul B. Murphy), reprinted in Metropolitan Corporate Counsel (December 2005) and inMetropolitan Corporate Counsel (January 2006). | SSRN

Three Governors: Herman Talmadge, the Georgia Supreme Court and the Gubernatorial Election of 1946, Georgia Bar Journal (December 2002). | SSRN

Other Writings

A Prisoner of Time, Mullholland Books Website, Little, Brown and Company (September 8, 2014) (Winner of the Hofstra Law School Mystery Short Story Contest).

New Crimes and Punishments: A Case Study Regarding the Impact of Over-Criminalization on White Collar Criminal Cases, Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) (July 28, 2011). | SSRN

Re-Evaluating Corporate Criminal Liability: The Department of Justice’s Internal Moral Culpability Standard for Corporate Criminal Liability, Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) (July 31, 2010). | SSRN

Internal Investigations: The Hidden Danger of Whistleblower Suits, 30th Annual HR Florida Conference & Expo (August 26, 2008).

Avoiding Missteps When Probing Into Alleged Employee Misconduct: Using Investigation Structure to Avoid Whistleblower Claims, 4th Annual Corporate Counsel’s Forum on Conducting and Responding to Internal & Government Investigations (June 23, 2006) (with Gary G. Grindler and Matthew A. Boyd).

Post-Indictment Plea Negotiations: How Did You Get Here and What to Do Now, Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia (November 15, 2002) (with Gary G. Grindler).

When the Government Comes Knocking in Georgia: How to Minimize Exposure, Lorman Education Services (January 27, 2003) (with Scott L. Marrah).

Law Blogs

Lucian E. Dervan, The Plea Bargaining Blog – – Owner and Author (June 2008 – present). 

Lucian E. Dervan, White Collar Crime Prof Blog (a member of the Law Professor Blogs Network) - - Contributing Editor (July 2014 – present).