John Farmer, dean of Rutgers School of Law-Newark since July 2009, has been appointed senior vice president and general counsel, effective immediately. Vice Dean Ronald Chen will serve as acting dean. 

Farmer will serve as SVP and general counsel for a period of 12 to 18 months to help the Rutgers administration manage all of the significant issues that the university faces – including the impending integration of Rutgers with most of the schools and institutes that make up the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Prior to joining Rutgers, Farmer worked in public service and private practice.  Among other positions, he served as New Jersey's attorney general from 1999 to 2002 and as senior counsel and team leader for the National Commission on Terrorists Attacks upon the United States (commonly known as the 9/11 Commission). In that position he led the investigation of the country's preparedness for and response to the terrorist attacks and was a principal author of the commission's final report. In 2008, he served as senior advisory to General James Jones, special envoy for Middle East Regional Security.

In 2007, he became a founding partner of  law firm Arseneault, Whipple, Farmer, Fassett and Azzarello. He also served as a partner in the white collar crime and internal investigations group at law firm K&L Gates.

He began his career as a law clerk to Associate Justice Alan B. Handler of the New Jersey Supreme Court. He then worked for two years as a litigation associate at Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti LLP before joining the Office of the U.S. Attorney in Newark, where he prosecuted crimes ranging from kidnapping and arms dealing to bank fraud.