Jelani Jefferson Exum is the Dean of the Detroit Mercy School of Law and the Philip J. McElroy Professor of Law.

She is a nationally recognized expert in sentencing law and procedure. Before joining academia, Dean Jefferson Exum served as a law clerk for the Honorable James L. Dennis, United States Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Honorable Eldon E. Fallon, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Prior to joining the Detroit Mercy Law faculty, she was a Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Toledo College of Law, an associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Law, and a visiting associate professor at the University of Michigan Law School. Dean Jefferson Exum has also been a Forrester Fellow and Instructor in Legal Writing at Tulane Law School.

Dean Jefferson Exum is a member of the Editorial Board of the Federal Sentencing Reporter, and her work has been featured on prominent sentencing blogs, such as Sentencing Law and Policy. Dean Jefferson Exum mainly writes in the area of sentencing law and policy, but her research interests also include comparative criminal law and procedure, policing, and the impact of race on criminal justice. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College.