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Valparaiso University Law School taps capital defense expert as new dean

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Andrea D. Lyon, associate dean for clinical programs at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, will join the Valparaiso University Law School as dean on June 2, 2014. She has experience both teaching and practicing law, and is a national expert in criminal defense.

“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 as the right time,” said Mark Schwehn, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “She will make a splendid addition to our entire community of learning.”

Valparaiso Law School started its search for a new dean in the spring of this year after Jay Conison stepped down to become dean at the Charlotte School of Law in North Carolina. Valparaiso wanted a dean who would take a leadership role in implementing the new curriculum as well as play an active role in developing more career opportunities for students and taking a collaborative approach to governance.

Ivan Bodensteiner, professor of law, has been serving as interim dean.

In additional 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.

Prior to her career as an educator, she 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 serve as 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.

“As a professor and practitioner, I try to inspire people to do their best,” Lyon said. “At Valpo, its 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 blogs regularly for the Huffington Post and has published extensively. Her autobiography, “Angel of Death Row: My Life as a Death Penalty Defense Lawyer,” details the 19 cases in which Lyon defended clients.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University and received her law degree from the Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C.
 

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