Andrea Lyon, the first woman to lead the Valparaiso University Law School, began her tenure July 1 as the dean.
Lyon brings experience both as a teacher and nationally recognized attorney. She comes to Valparaiso from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago where she served as associated dean for clinical programs.
As a practicing attorney, she was the first woman to be lead counsel in a death penalty case and has since established a national reputation as a capital defense expert. She has held several positions in the Office of the Cook County Public Defender in Chicago and served as the director of the Illinois Capital Resource Center.
Lyon was appointed in November 2013 after Valparaiso’s previous dean, Jay Conison, stepped down to become dean of the Charlotte School of Law in North Carolina.
To fill the space between Conison’s departure and Lyon’s arrival, the law school, again, tapped Ivan Bodensteiner to serve as interim dean. Bodensteiner was dean from 1985 to 1990 and from 1997 to 1998.
He praised Lyon, saying she has a background that is well suited to the law school.
In addition, he noted she will be joining a strong faculty. Bodensteiner credited the faculty of the law school with viewing the upheaval in the legal profession and legal education as opportunities to make overdue changes to improve. They did not have to be “dragged kicking and screaming” in a new direction, he said.
The law school has been implementing a revamped curriculum which puts more emphasis on teaching students the necessary skills to be practice ready.
Lyon will not have much time to unpack and settle into her office. She is scheduled to participate in “Meet the Dean” events in the coming weeks in Merrillville; Chicago; Grand Rapids, Mich., and Indianapolis.