Andrea D. Lyon was first dubbed the “Angel of Death Row” by the Chicago Tribune in 1995. The “Angel of Death Row” seems like the only fitting name for a lawyer who has gone 19-0 against the death penalty. Andrea is a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom, having tried more than 130 homicide cases and having defended more than 30 potential capital cases at the trial level.

Andrea is currently a partner at Lyon Law. From 2014 to 2018, Andrea served as Dean of Valparaiso University Law School. Formerly, she was at DePaul College of Law, where she was a Clinical Professor of Law, Associate Dean of Clinical Programs, and founder and director of the Center for Justice in Capital Cases. Andrea has also served as a Visiting Professor and Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Michigan Law School. In 1990, she founded the Illinois Capital Resource Center and acted as its director until 1995. Andrea began her career at the Office of the Cook County Public Defender. She graduated with her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University in 1973, and she received her law degree from Antioch School of Law in 1976.

A renowned and nationally recognized author, speaker, lawyer, and professor, Andrea has published numerous books, defense manuals, journal articles, and opinion pieces and has been featured on national news outlets. In 2015, Andrea published The Death Penalty: What’s Keeping It Alive, a book in which she investigates the reasons why the death penalty remains legal and active in most states. In 2010, she published her critically acclaimed memoir, Angel of Death Row, in which she shares her groundbreaking career beginning as a public defender in Chicago. Angel of Death Row has received immense praise from within and outside the criminal justice community. Andrea has also received numerous prestigious awards. She was awarded the esteemed National Legal Aid and Defender Association's Reginald Heber Smith Award for best advocate for the poor in the country, and in 2015 was awarded Operation Push’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Lyndon B. Johnson Dream-Makers Award.

Throughout her decades-long career, Andrea has had to navigate a white man’s world, particularly that of the male-dominated criminal defense field. As a 19-0 death penalty lawyer and the first woman to ever serve as lead attorney in a death penalty case, Andrea is perfectly situated to write her new book detailing the experiences of the women of the defense bar.

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Meet Andrea D. Lyon

“Not belonging was the norm for me.”

Additional books by Andrea

News and Media Appearances