Herschella G. Conyers is the Lillian E. Kraemer Clinical Professor in Public Interest Law and the Director of the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic's Criminal and Juvenile Justice Project. Before joining the Law School, she served as an assistant public defender, supervisor, and deputy chief in the Office of the Cook County Public Defender from 1986 to 1993. During her time at the Public Defender’s Office, Professor Conyers worked in both the Cook County municipal and felony divisions including conflicts and capital litigation. A native of the South Side of Chicago, Professor Conyers became interested in criminal defense and juvenile justice after doing her law school clinical work at the Criminal Defense Consortium of Cook County, in Woodlawn. She also teaches the Intensive Trial Practice Workshop and a seminar entitled “Life (and Death) in the Law.”
Professor Conyers is actively engaged in criminal and juvenile justice policy, locally and nationally. She has most recently organized several symposia that brought together judges, educators, and other community leaders to discuss the criminal and juvenile justice systems and violence in minority communities. In 2013, Professor Conyers received the Edith Sampson Award from the Illinois Judicial Council for her work in advocating for juveniles in the legal system. Professor Conyers is also a nationally recognized leader in trial skills: lecturing and training students, lawyers, and judges around the country. She is faculty and a board member of the National Criminal Defense College. She has also lectured or taught trial skills at Harvard, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Training, the New York State Defender’s Association and numerous public defender offices and bar associations around the country. Professor Conyers received both her JD and her BA from the University of Chicago.