University President Devorah Lieberman announced the appointment Monday at the Ontario campus.
Holmes will take over the the law school on July 1, or earlier if possible.
He will assume the reins at the college which has had some difficulty winning full accreditation from the American Bar Association over the number of its graduates passing the bar exams.
Last March, ABA officials did grant previsional status to the university through 2017 after a review of the law school's program of legal education as well as faculty, admissions, student services, facilities and the pass rate on the bar exam.
During his nearly 23 years in legal education, Holmes has served as a faculty member and administrator at several law schools. He was dean and taught at the University of Baltimore School of Law from 2001-07. During that time, he also spent two semesters as a visiting professor at Florida A&M University College of Law. And in 2010 he founded the Charles Hamilton Houston Scholars Program, which equips under-represented college freshmen and sophomores with the educational and academic success skills to improve their undergraduate performance and enhance their opportunity for admission to and success in law school.
Holmes taught and was an associate dean at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law for nearly five years, served as visiting associate professor at Southern Methodist University Law School, and was an associate professor at Seton Hall University Law School.
Holmes' professional legal experience includes 16 years as a private practitioner in New York City, more than four years as a court-appointed claims administrator for the Baltimore City Circuit Court, more than two years as tripartite arbitrator for the New York City Transit Authority, a year as director of the New York Civil Liberties Union Suffolk County Police Misconduct Project.
He was born in Brooklyn and was raised in Mount Vernon, N.Y. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Bucknell University and a juris doctor from New York University School of Law.