Beloved and respected by her students and by colleagues across the globe, Professor Fairlie began her FIU Law career in 2007. Among other courses, she taught criminal law, criminal procedure, international criminal law, professional responsibility and seminars on international criminal procedure and the International Criminal Court. Her students described her as “passionate,” “a genuine expert,” and “an inspiration who showed us what a good teacher and a good person should be.” She will be remembered as a dedicated mentor, generous with her time and advice. As one of her former students recently wrote, Professor Fairlie’s guidance “has driven my choice to maintain hobbies and travel, rather than focusing solely on work, it has reminded me to continue cultivating relationships with people close to me, not just professional relationships, [and] . . . that success in life is about more than accolades and benefits packages it’s about doing what speaks to you.”
Professor Fairlie’s colleagues in the international law community have posted a tribute summarizing her rich and impactful academic contributions at Opinio Juris. https://opiniojuris.org/2022/12/30/honoring-the-life-and-legacy-of-megan-fairlie/ She wrote extensively on the International Criminal Court and international and comparative criminal procedure, publishing her work in leading books, journals, and encyclopedias on international criminal law.
Her professional endeavors also reflected her passion for justice. In 2007, she earned a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law from the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She also held an LL.M. in International Peace Support Operations from the same institution, graduating first in her LL.M. concentration, with first class honors. In 2005, while pursuing her doctorate, she lectured in law at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, where she was a part of the Transitional Justice Institute. From 2007 to 2009, she joined the Amsterdam Centre for International Law and The Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law, as an expert in the progressive development of the law of international criminal procedure. Professor Fairlie also sat on the board of Self Help Africa-USA, a non-profit organization committed to empowering communities in rural Africa.
Colleagues will remember her rapier-sharp wit and boisterous laugh, her wisdom, her compassion, and her immense dedication to her students. The photographs and artwork that adorn her office door were a constant reminder that, in her balance of life and work Professor Fairlie had followed her own advice. Her life truly centered on her two incredible young daughters and her large and loving family. Professor Elizabeth Foley observed, “Megan was that rare woman who really did have it all. She was not just a smart woman and accomplished teacher with incredible depth of experience in her field. She had a sense of humor and could laugh at herself and the absurdity of things. But most all of all, Megan was a doting and loving mother who cherished her children and husband. She was a powerful role model for all young lawyers who seek to balance their professional life with the foundation and gift of family.”
As Professor Joëlle Moreno recalls, “She was extraordinary and irreplaceable. Professionally, her fearless transformative work was a progressive force in the global fight against police and prosecutorial overreach and discrimination. Personally, Megan lived her values. She was deeply kind, fiercely loyal, uproariously funny, and a principled role model who steadfastly refused to compromise her integrity, suffer fools, or allow her eyes to wander from the prize – the joy of teaching our amazing students.”
Professor Rosario Lozada remembers Professor Fairlie as “a force who recognized the humanity in each person. Her commitment to kindness and care had ripple effects that cannot be measured. She took genuine pleasure in the good news and accomplishments of students and colleagues, and she was always ready to offer concrete support and guidance in times of challenge and need.”
Senior Associate Dean Michelle Mason noted how Megan was “a fierce advocate from her days as a prosecutor, and demonstrated a similar commitment to teaching and dedication to our students. She took the lead on several projects designed to address student academic interests and needs. For example, Megan, as project leader, worked with her colleagues, reviewing and editing their posted teaching materials, document by document, with the goal of assuring that all legally and ethically required standards were met. For her, it wasn’t just a mundane, administrative task. Megan wanted all students to know our community’s commitment to inclusiveness and the accessibility of a broadly diverse student body.”
Others at FIU Law particularly highlighted her role as a colleague. Professor Kerri Stone said, “I will always remember Megan as insightful and incisive. She routinely dispensed wisdom and really good advice, often peppered with beautiful and colorful sayings. I learned so much from her.” Professor Eric Carpenter, who taught many of the same topics, described her as “a great mentor to me as I developed my courses. If you needed help, she would move heaven and earth to provide it.” Former FIU Law Registrar Donna Yff’s fondest memory of Megan was their “heart to heart talks on numerous subjects, both personal and professional. She had a great sense of humor, was a hard worker and a good friend.”
According to Professor Matthew Mirow, “Megan was deeply committed to justice and academic excellence. She had an unflinchingly cheerful manner that lifted everyone around her. We will miss her as a friend and colleague, and we will remember her through her many contributions to our students and community.”
For all who wish to honor Professor Fairlie, a fundraiser has been established for her two daughters. https://www.gofundme.com/the-daughters-of-megan-fairlie
While the funeral service was private for the family, a celebration of life ceremony will be announced at a future date. Please keep her family, friends, and colleagues in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time of bereavement.
Students who were close to Professor Fairlie may seek emotional support by contacting our staff in the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office located at SHC 270 (at MMC), or by calling 305-348-2277. Colleagues seeking counseling as a result of this loss may contact our Office of Employee Assistance at 305-348-2469.