In today’s installment of my ‘Inspired By’ series I’m talking about someone many of you may not know – Andrea D. Lyon. I’m so inspired by Andrea D. Lyon; who is one of the smartest, most talented criminal defense lawyers in North America. Do you like law or true crime? Then keep reading because this is someone you need to know!
When I started law school and took an interest in criminal law I was shocked to see how few women pursued it. I was hard pressed to find more than a handful of women to learn about / learn from who did criminal defense. Luckily, I stumbled across a book by Andrea D. Lyon that not only gave me a female to look up to, it made me even more passionate about pursuing a career in criminal defense.
Andrea D. Lyon is criminal defense lawyer in Michigan & Illinois specializing in death row cases. She is an Associate Professor and Dean of Clinical Studies at the University of Michigan’s law school and the author of the memoir Angel of Death Row: My Life as a Death Penalty Defense Lawyer. AKA. The book that changed my life / career trajectory. (Ps. the above link is for my US followers, here’s the link to Angel of Death Row on Amazon Canada for my fellow Canadians).
Andrea D. Lyon specializes, as I said, in representing individuals facing the death penalty. She was the first female ever to serve as lead attorney in a death penalty case and has a ground-breaking record of having represented nineteen individuals facing the death penalty and … crazy as is this to believe … she has won all nineteen times.
It is this impressive track record that undoubtedly lead to the nickname ‘The Angel of Death Row’ which was given to her by the Chicago Tribune. The name stuck; hence the name of her autobiography.
What inspires me about Andrea D. Lyon is not just her legal skill / that ridiculous track record; but the humanity and realness she brings to the job. I remember reading a particular passage of Angel of Death Row where she talks about the first time she got a client accused of a particularly heinous crime … infanticide. She talks about how she just kept thinking to herself ‘Oh please universe, just not a baby killer, I can handle any other case, I can’t represent a baby killer’ … and then that is the exact client she got.
This really stuck with me because she opened up about the emotional aspect of what she was going through in representing this person and the moral and psychological challenges that came along with it. As someone with an abundance of emotion, this was (and is) an area I struggle with as a defense lawyer so to have someone be raw and real about going through it was exactly what I needed to keep going in this career.
Lyon is a woman who has a relentless drive for helping the underdog and fighting for human rights and, to me, that is the ultimate inspiration.
Alright, on a lighter note, fashion! If you’ve been reading my Inspired By posts, you know that I like to wear an outfit that reminds me of the person I’m profiling. I think that Andrea D. Lyon would be proud of this checkered pantsuit! I love the longerline of the blazer and that it’s double breasted. It just feels like a powerful outfit, you know?
I also pinned on my RBG pin, which I’m pretty sure needed to be part of this outfit! I’ve also been loving the glasses chain trend, it feels both retro and modern and also has that working woman vibe.
I hope you liked today’s post! As always, if you have any questions just let me know. And if you liked this post and are interested in criminal law check out my other law posts: