Nationally Renowned Capital Defense Expert to Join Faculty in June 2014
Valparaiso University announces Andrea D. Lyon, J.D., will join its faculty as dean of the Law School, effective June 2, 2014. Most recently, Lyon has served as the associate dean for clinical programs at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago.
In her role as dean, Lyon will be responsible for the strategic leadership, coordination and guidance of the Law School. Lyon brings an accomplished record of both teaching and practicing law, and she is a national expert in criminal defense.
"Andrea Lyon has been affiliated with outstanding law schools and is well known in the state of Illinois for her exemplary work on the death penalty," said Mark R. Schwehn, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. "She brings to the Valparaiso University Law School an excellent record of achievement in clinical education."
In addition to her role as associate dean at DePaul, Lyon is a clinical professor of law, director of the Darrow Death Penalty Defense College and director of the Center for Justice in Capital Cases. At the Center, she teaches in the death penalty clinic, providing instruction in doctrinal law in capital cases, trial practice, preparation and strategy, directly representing clients in state and federal court on the trial, appellate and collateral levels in capital cases.
"As a professor and practitioner, I try to inspire people to do their best," Lyon said. "At Valpo, it's evident the faculty care about their students. This is a school of opportunity where students from a diverse array of backgrounds are inspired to create change."
Lyon is also a visiting professor of law at the Iowa Law School and the University of Michigan Law School, where she was previously an assistant clinical professor. Prior to her career as an educator, Lyon was the director of the Illinois Capital Resource Center and held several positions at the Office of the Cook County Public Defender in Chicago, where she was the first woman to be lead counsel on a death penalty case. She eventually rose to the position of chief of the homicide task force and tried more than 100 homicide cases, many of which were capital cases.
"The match between Professor Lyon's gifts and commitments and the Law School's mission and curricular emphases suggests she is very much the right person for the right position at the right time," Schwehn said. "She will make a splendid addition to our entire community of learning."
Recently, the Law School implemented an overhauled curriculum that weaves skills into courses on legal doctrine. Students will gain practical experience in key themes including advocacy, government and business. Through these enhancements, Valpo law students will further develop the core competencies required of an entry-level practitioner. Lyon said this curriculum, along with Valpo's commitment to graduating students who have a broad range of skills, drew her to the University.
"I love seeing students do well, and in order for that to happen, I believe there needs to be an atmosphere in which professors feel like they are appreciated and have the tools they need to succeed," Lyon said.
Lyon blogs regularly for Huffington Post and other publications and has published extensively, including defense manuals, books and journal articles. Her autobiography, "Angel of Death Row: My Life as a Death Penalty Defense Lawyer," details the 19 cases in which Lyon defended clients who were found guilty of capital murder and successfully argued for her clients' lives to be spared.
Lyon holds a juris doctor degree from the Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., and a bachelor of arts degree from Rutgers University. She is married to Arnold D. Glass, and they have two children, Samantha and William Glass.