A A Email Print Share

Nicholas P. Cafardi, Ph.B., M.A., J.D., J.C.L., J.C.D.

Dean Emeritus and Profesor of Law
School of Law

Room 224 School of Law
Phone: 412.396.4706


J.C.D., Canon Law, University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome, 2006
J.C.L., Canon Law, University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome, 1987
J.D., Law, University of Pittsburgh, 1975
M.A., Philosophy, Duquesne University, 1972
Ph.B., Philosophy, Gregorian University, Rome, Italy, 1970

Nicholas P. Cafardi holds a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Doctor of Canon Law degree from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He has served as General Counsel for Pittsburgh's two largest Catholic organizations: The Diocese of Pittsburgh itself and Duquesne University. He is a former assistant dean at the University of Pittsburgh Law School and a former Dean of Duquesne University School of Law.

Cafardi was the founding chair of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Commission on Racial and Gender Bias and was a guiding co-author of its massive Report on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System. Cafardi was also an original member of the United States Catholic Bishops' National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Youth and served as its chair from 2004-2005. He is also a co-author of the National Review Board's Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States. Cafardi is one of the foremost lay canon lawyers in the United States.  He is the co-author with Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit of Church Property, Church Finances and Church Related Corporations, which is the basic book in its field.  Cafardi is also the author of Before Dallas, published by Paulist Press in 2008, a history of the child sexual abuse crisis in the American church. As a canon lawyer, Cafardi has represented dioceses, archdioceses and religious orders across the nation. He is the founder of Duquesne Law School's Summer Study of Law at the Vatican, and taught the canon law course in that program for a decade. Cafardi is also a former member of the Board of Governors of the Canon Law Society of America.

In additional to his canonical expertise, Cafardi is also an acknowledged authority in the law of nonprofit, tax exempt organizations. His casebook, Tax Exempt Organizations, and his hornbook, Understanding Nonprofit and Tax Exempt Organizations, both co-authored with Professor Jaclyn Cherry of the University of South Carolina Law School, are published by LexisNexis.

Cafardi is also a well-known commentator on the intersection of faith and politics. His articles have appeared in America and Commonweal magazines and the National Catholic Reporter. His most recent work,Voting and Holiness, a collection of essays by Catholic scholars on Catholic participation in political life, was just published by Paulist Press.


At the Law School, Cafardi teaches the first year courses in Civil Procedure, and upper level courses in Family Law, Tax Exempt Organizations and Canon Law.


Cafardi is currently serving his second term as the elected President of the Faculty Senate of Duquesne University.


Please visit Dean Cafardi's SSRN page and SelectedWorks page to access a selection of his publications.