Andrea Lyon

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Andrea Lyon

Andrea Lyon is a partner with Durkin and Roberts.  Ms. Lyon received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and her law degree from the Antioch School of Law.  After graduating, she worked for the Cook County Public Defenders’ Office in the Felony Trial Division, Post-Conviction/Habeas Corpus Unit, Preliminary Hearing/First Municipal (misdemeanor) Unit and the Appeals Division. Her last position there was Chief of the Homicide Task Force, a 22-lawyer unit representing persons accused of homicides. She has tried over 130 homicide cases most of which were jury trials and defended more than 30 potential capital cases at the trial level, including taking 19 cases through penalty phase; she won all 19.

The former Dean of Valparaiso University Law School, Ms. Lyon was a leader in curriculum reform and embracing diversity.  Before becoming dean, she was a clinical professor of law, Associate Dean of Clinical Programs, and Director of the Center for Justice in Capital Cases at the DePaul University College of Law.  Ms. Lyon also taught as a clinical professor at the University of Michigan Law School for five years.

In 1990, she founded the Illinois Capital Resource Center and served as its director until joining the University of Michigan Law School faculty as an assistant clinical professor in 1995. A winner of the prestigious National Legal Aid and Defender Association’s Reginald Heber Smith Award for best advocate for the poor in the country, she is a nationally recognized expert in the field of death penalty defense and a frequent Continuing Legal Education (CLE) teacher throughout the country.  She is the first woman to defend a death penalty case in the United States and has been designated as learned counsel in the federal defense system.

Ms. Lyon’s Publications include over fifty law review articles, over ten practice manuals and books including The Feminine Sixth: Women in Criminal Defense (NACDL Press 2018), The Death Penalty: What’s Keeping it Alive (Rowan & Littlefield, 2015), Team Defense in Criminal Cases with Mortimer Smith (ABA publication, 2014), and Angel of Death Row: My Life as a Death Penalty Defense Lawyer (Kaplan, 2010).  In January of 2015 she was awarded Operation Push’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Lyndon B. Johnson Dream-Makers Award.

Ms. Lyon concentrates her practice on the defense of various state and federal felonies, appeals, post-conviction relief as well as habeas corpus and civil rights violations.