Former Deputy AG Rob Henderson Joins Justice Center
Assistant Professor Rob Henderson brings experience as a long-time Alaska prosecutor — and as an alum of the Justice Center himself. Now he’s ready to inspire students pursuing their own legal and justice careers.
Friday, June 14, 2019
For Rob Henderson, becoming an assistant professor at the Justice Center is like coming home. He brings a long and notable legal career with him—including, most recently, more than two years as deputy attorney general for the State of Alaska. But his path started right here at the Justice Center, when he graduated with his BA in Justice in 1998.
“I owe a lot to the Justice Center,” he says, “so being able to come back and be part of this community again is really rewarding.”
Henderson has been busy since he graduated from UAA. As deputy attorney general he oversaw the Alaska Department of Law’s Criminal Division, which is made up of 12 regional district attorney’s offices across the state. Before he was appointed deputy attorney general, Henderson served as the chief assistant attorney general for the Office of Special Prosecutions and an assistant district attorney within the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office. In those roles, Henderson prosecuted a broad range of criminal cases throughout the state, including drug and property offenses, violent felonies, public corruption, and excessive force matters. Before that he spent several years in private practice.
Henderson’s broad range of experience is invaluable for the courses that he teaches in the Justice Center’s Legal Studies program. “I’m excited to share my perspective with UAA students—what it means to be a prosecutor, to be the voice of the community, and to ensure that justice is served regardless how egregious or sensational a case might be,” he says. “What does it actually mean to stand up in a trial and balance the rights of both the victims and the accused? What does real life look like in the jails, in the middle of a court room, at a crime scene? That’s the perspective that I’m going to be able to bring to students.”
Learning from professors with deep knowledge of Alaska justice and law was part of what drew Henderson to a legal career to begin with. He earned his JD from the University of Montana School of Law, but as a lifelong Alaskan, he knew he wanted to live, practice, and teach in the community where he grew up.
There’s good reason for that: Henderson says the justice and legal career opportunities here are unlike anywhere else in the country. “We have a close-knit community here in Alaska that I would argue is unmatched anywhere else,” he says. “As you develop your professional career in Alaska, you’ll be able to have conversations with people and you’ll get to do things that you’re not going to experience anywhere else. You’re going to make an impact in this state.”