Professor of Law
Andrea Lyon was appointed as Dean of Valparaiso University Law School in July of 2014 and served as Dean until June 2018. Formerly, she was a Clinical Professor of Law, Associate Dean of Clinical Programs, and Director of the Center for Justice in Capital Cases. Lyon received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and her law degree from 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, both while in the Public Defender’s Office and since. She has defended more than 30 potential capital cases at the trial level and has taken 19 through penalty phase; she won all 19. 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 teacher throughout the country. In January of 2015 she was awarded Operation Push’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Lyndon B. Johnson Dream-Makers Award. In June 2017, she was awarded the Abner J. Mikva Award by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.