Ramona Emilia Romero is Vice President and General Counsel of Princeton University. As the University’s chief legal officer, she is a member of its senior management team; advises the trustees, the President, and other senior administrative and academic officers on the legal implications of University policy and decision-making; and leads the team of lawyers and administrative professionals in the Office of the General Counsel. She joined the University after nearly four years as General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a Senate-confirmed position to which she was appointed by President Obama. At USDA, Ramona advised Secretary Vilsack and other senior department leaders, and led a team of over 300 legal and ethics professionals. Previously, she held a variety of legal roles at a major multi-national corporation and was a white collar, government contracts and commercial litigator at a Washington, DC-based law firm.
Throughout her career, Ramona has volunteered her time to many professional and community organizations, with a particular focus on promoting diversity and equal opportunity, access to justice, and judicial independence. Currently, she is a member of President Biden’s Commission on White House Fellowships, a trustee of Barnard College and of Legal Services of New Jersey, and a member of the American Law Institute. Her prior volunteer efforts include service on the governing boards of Greater Trenton, Inc., the McCarter Theatre Center, the Justice at Stake Campaign, the American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula, and the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, and the Advisory Committee of the O’Connor Judicial Selection Initiative at the University of Denver. She is a former chair of the Supreme Court Committee of the National Association of Women Lawyers, and a former National President of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA). As President of the HNBA (2008-2009), Ramona founded the Latina Commission and the highly successful Hispanic Appointments Project, which advocated for and supported President Obama’s appointment of Hispanic lawyers to the Federal judiciary and Executive Branch.
Ramona’s leadership and contributions have resulted in numerous awards and recognitions, including the Lucero (“guiding star”) award from Latino Justice/PRLEDF, and twice being identified by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States. An immigrant from the Dominican Republic, she earned her B.A. from Barnard College and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. Ramona lives in Princeton with her husband, their two daughters, and their dog.