Alison Siegler

Alison Siegler

Clinical Professor of Law, Director, Federal Criminal Justice Clinic

Alison Siegler is a Clinical Professor of Law and the founder and director of the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic (FCJC), the nation’s first legal clinic solely devoted to representing indigent clients charged with federal felonies. The FCJC defends individual clients and pursues impact litigation in federal district court, in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and before the United States Supreme Court, and engages in legislative advocacy. Siegler received the Seventh Circuit Bar Association’s Justice John Paul Stevens Award for Outstanding Public Service Work in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016, the American Constitution Society Chicago Chapter’s Ruth Goldman Award in 2014, and the Excellence in Public Interest Service Award from the US District Court and the Federal Bar Association in Chicago in 2012. She has also served on Senator Durbin’s screening committee for the selection of federal district court judges. She was previously a staff attorney with the Federal Defender Program in Chicago, a Prettyman Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center’s Criminal Justice Clinic, and a law clerk for US District Judge Robert W. Gettleman. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale College, earned a JD from Yale Law School, and holds an LLM from Georgetown.

EDUCATION 

Georgetown University Law Center
LLM in advocacy, May 2006

Yale Law School
JD, 1998

  • Senior Editor, Yale Law Journal
  • Executive Editor, Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities 
  • Coker Fellow: Teaching assistant and legal writing instructor for Professor Peter Schuck

Yale University
BA in humanities, magna cum laude, 1995

  • Honors in the selective humanities major for distinguished classwork and thesis

Yale in London Program London, England
Spring 1994

  • Studied at Yale’s Paul Mellon Center for British Art

EXPERIENCE

The University of Chicago Law School
Clinical Professor of Law, 2014-present 
Associate Clinical Professor of Law, 2011-2014
Director of the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic, 2008-present
Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, 2008-2011
Lecturer-in-Law, 2007

  • Faculty advisor, Defenders; the Law Women’s Caucus; the Criminal Law Society; the Domestic Violence Project
  • Comment advisor,The University of Chicago Law Review
  • Honorable Mention for the Class of 2011 Award

Federal Defender Program Chicago, IL
Staff Attorney, 2002-2008

  • Represented indigent clients charged with federal crimes in the federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States
  • Represented clients at every stage of the criminal process, including serving as lead counsel in federal jury trials, Seventh Circuit appeals, and petitions for writs of certiorari to the Supreme Court

DePaul University College of Law
Lecturer, 2005 and 2006

Georgetown University Law Center
E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow, Georgetown Criminal Justice Clinic, 2000-2002

  • Represented indigent clients charged with felonies and misdemeanors in D.C. Superior Court; taught and supervised third-year law students representing misdemeanor clients in court; taught weekly trial practice and skills classes

Judge Robert W. Gettleman, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
Law Clerk, 1998-2000

Public Defender Service Washington, D.C. 
Law Clerk, summer 1998

Capital Defender Office New York, NY
Law Clerk, summer 1997

Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal Chicago, IL 
Summer Associate, 1997

New Haven Legal Assistance Assoc., Special Public Defender New Haven, CT
Extern, spring 1997

Journal Articles

  • "Rebellion: The Courts of Appeals’ Latest Anti-Booker Backlash," 82 University of Chicago Law Review 201 (2015). ssrn cu
  • "Review of Co-Defendant Sentencing Disparities by the Seventh Circuit: Two Divergent Lines of Cases," Circuit Rider 23 (2012). cu
  • "Death Is Different No Longer: Graham v. Florida and the Future of Eighth Amendment Challenges to Noncapital Sentences," 2010 Supreme Court Review 327 (2011) (with Barry Sullivan). ssrn cu
  • "Disparities and Discretion in Fast-Track Sentencing," 21 Federal Sentencing Reporter 299 (2009) (Guest Editor's Observations). cu
  • "The Patriot Act's Erosion of Constitutional Rights," 32 Litigation 18 (2006). cu

Book Sections

  • "Supervised Release and Probation Revocations," in Defending a Federal Criminal Case (Federal Defenders of San Diego, 2010). cu
  • "Discovery," in Defending a Federal Criminal Case (Federal Defenders of San Diego, 2010). cu
  • "Appendix: Sample Cross Examination," in MacCarthy on Cross Examination, Terence F. MacCarthy ed. (American Bar Association, 2008). cu

Other Publications

  • "Ostriches Are Not Merely Careless Birds: Fighting the Willful Blindness Instruction at Trial," Liberty Legend, 2004.

“Race Data Matters: Using Expert Testimony and Social Science Data about Discriminatory Policing to Win Pretrial Motions,” NACDL 2017 Presidential Summit & Seminar, Race Matters: The Impact of Race on Criminal Justice, Detroit, forthcoming 15 September 2017

“Attacking Bias Through Motions Practice: Revealing and Litigating Unfair Targeting of People of Color in Federal Court,” Administrative Office of the US Courts Defender Services Office Multi-Track Federal Criminal Defense Seminar, Philadelphia, 25 August 2017

“Attacking Bias Through Motions,” S.D. Fla. Federal Defender Annual Seminar, 23 June 2017

“Fueling Academic Writing with Social Justice Advocacy to Serve Clients and Communities in Tumultuous Times,” American Association of Law Schools, 40th Annual Conference on Clinical Legal Education, 6 May 2017

“Fighting Racially Selective Law Enforcement,” Chicago Bar Association Seminar: Civil Rights and Police Litigation from a Practical and Social Justice Perspective, 19 April 2017

“Attacking Bias Through Motions Practice: Revealing and Litigating Unfair Targeting of People of Color in Federal Court,” AO Defender Services Office Seminar: Race in the Federal Criminal Court, Baltimore, 8 April 2017

“The Federal Criminal Justice Clinic's Fake Stash House Litigation,” Admitted Students Weekend Community and Global Impact Panel, Univ. of Chicago Law School, 6 April 2017

“Systemic Approaches to Challenging DOJ Policies,” Panel Attorney District Representatives Conference & Federal Defender Conference, 9-10 March 2017

“Fighting Racially Selective Law Enforcement in Chicago,” Presentation for the American Constitution Society Chapter, Univ. of Chicago Law School, 27 October 2016

Faculty Public Interest Panel for incoming first year students, Univ. of Chicago Law School, 27 September 2016

“Litigating Selective Prosecution and Selective Enforcement Claims,” Presentation at Cabrini Green Legal Aid, 20 July 2016

“Gathering & Using Empirical Data in Selective Prosecution and Enforcement Litigation,” AO Defender Services Office Seminar: Perspectives on Racial and Ethnic Bias for Capital and Non-Capital Defense Lawyers, 20 September 2015

“Attacking Bias Through Motions Practice: Revealing and Litigating Unfair Targeting of People of Color in Federal Court,” Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts Defender Services Office Seminar, Race in the Federal Criminal Court, forthcoming 6 August 2015

“From the Ivory Tower to the Courtroom: Academic Writing for Social Justice in the New Normal,” American Association of Law Schools, 38th Annual Conference on Clinical Legal Education, 7 May 2015

“Chicago’s Best Ideas: The Courts of Appeals’ Latest Anti-Booker Rebellion,” University of Chicago Law School, 13 April 2015

“Advocating for Your Client at Sentencing and on Appeal,” Annual CJA & IACDL Criminal Defense Seminar, 21 November 2014

“The Courts of Appeals’ Latest Anti-Booker Rebellion,” University of Chicago Law Review Symposium, 31 May 2014

“The Power of Research: A Case Study,” Chicago Association of Law Libraries, 27 February 2014

“The Right to Counsel & the Criminal Justice Act,” Federal Bar Association, 13 February 2014 (panel organizer)

“Litigating Federal Sentencing Appeals,” Kirkland & Ellis, 22 November 2013

“Federal Sentencing in 2013,” Annual CJA & IACDL Criminal Defense Seminar, 15 November 2013

“Stash Houses, Secrets, and Sentences: A Trifecta of Cutting-Edge Practice Pointers,” Federal Bar Association Annual Federal Criminal Practice Program, 9 May 2013 (presenter and conference organizer)

“Attacking Bias Through Motions Practice: Revealing and Litigating Unfair Targeting of People of Color in Federal Court,” Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts Defender Services Office Seminar, Race in the Federal Criminal Court, forthcoming 6 August 2015

“From the Ivory Tower to the Courtroom: Academic Writing for Social Justice in the New Normal,” American Association of Law Schools, 38th Annual Conference on Clinical Legal Education, 7 May 2015

“Chicago’s Best Ideas: The Courts of Appeals’ Latest Anti-Booker Rebellion,” University of Chicago Law School, 13 April 2015

“Advocating for Your Client at Sentencing and on Appeal,” Annual CJA & IACDL Criminal Defense Seminar, 21 November 2014

“The Courts of Appeals’ Latest Anti-Booker Rebellion,” University of Chicago Law Review Symposium, 31 May 2014

“The Power of Research: A Case Study,” Chicago Association of Law Libraries, 27 February 2014

“The Right to Counsel & the Criminal Justice Act,” Federal Bar Association, 13 February 2014 (panel organizer)

“Litigating Federal Sentencing Appeals,” Kirkland & Ellis, 22 November 2013

"Stash Houses, Secrets, and Sentences: A Trifecta of Cutting-Edge Practice Pointers," Federal Bar Association Annual Federal Criminal Practice Program, 9 May 2013 (presenter and conference organizer)

"Two Federal Sentencing Revolutions," Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers’ Division Criminal Section Meeting, 30 November 2012

"Federal Sentencing in 2012," Annual CJA & IACDL Criminal Defense Seminar, 9 November 2012

"Death-in-Prison Sentences for Children: Evolving Jurisprudence Regarding Extreme Sentencing of Youth," Yale Law School Association of Illinois, 27 November 2012 (panel organizer)

"Annual Review of the Supreme Court’s Term: Criminal Cases," American Bar Association Annual Meeting, 3 August 2012  (panelist)

"New Sentencing Litigation Strategies," Seminar for Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys, 7 June 2012

"Twenty-Five Years of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines," Seventh Circuit Judicial Conference, 7 May 2012 (panelist)

"Attacking the Guidelines," National Sentencing Advocacy Workshop, 29 March 2012

Women in the Judiciary panel, University of Chicago Law School, 11 March 2012 (moderator)

Undergraduate Careers in Law panel, University of Chicago Law School, 5 March 2012

"How I Write" Panel, University of Chicago Law School, 16 February 2012

“'The Quality of Mercy is Not Strained': Using Storytelling to Help Clinic Students Connect with Clients and Courts," Midwest Clinical Law Teachers Conference, November 2011 (co-presenter)

Criminal Law Society Careers Panel, University of Chicago Law School, 16 November 2011 (moderator)

"Sentencing Blagojevich," Yale Law School Alumni Association, 6 July 2011 (panelist)

"Attacking the Guidelines with Spears and Pepper," Seminar for Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys, 23 June 2011

Chicago Justice Initiative sentencing panel, University of Chicago Law School, 12 May 2011

"Immigration Considerations and Consequences: From Bond Through Sentencing and Beyond," Seminar for Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys, 5 May 2011

Faculty Clerkship Panel, University of Chicago Law School, 3 May 2011

"Day in the Life" presentation regarding the clinics, University of Chicago Law School, 28 March 2011

"Women in Law: An Honest Discussion on the Experiences of Women Lawyers in Different Practice Areas," Law Women’s Caucus Diversity Month Panel at University of Chicago Law School, 27 January 2011 (moderator)

"The Newest Frontier of the Federal Sentencing Revolution," American Constitution Society Panel, 21 January 2011 (with Julie Ruder and James Burnham)

Public Interest Law Society Panel, University of Chicago Law School, 28 October 2010 (panelist with John Knight and Juliet Summers)

"Attacking the Guidelines With 3553(a)’s Spears," Annual Criminal Defense Seminar, 12 November 2010; National Sentencing Advocacy Workshop, July 2010; National Sentencing Advocacy Workshop, March 2010

Public Interest Careers Faculty Panel, University of Chicago Law School, 1 March 2010 (panelist with Aziz Huq, Adam Cox, and Emily Satterthwaite)

Annual Criminal Justice Act Seminar, November 2009

"The Changing Court: The Supreme Court’s 2009-2010 Term," University of Chicago Alumni Club, November 2009 (panelist with Todd Henderson and Jeffrey Sarles) 

"Is Life Without Parole for Juveniles Who Commit Non-Homicides Constitutional?," American Constitution Society at University of Chicago Law Scool, 15 October 2009

ACS Board of Advisors and Board of Directors meeting, 18 September 2009

"Putting the Guidelines in a Half-Nelson: Fighting For and Winning Lower Sentences," National Winning Strategies Seminar, May 2009

"Will Judicial Discretion Triumph? Reflections on the Supreme Court’s Ongoing Federal Sentencing Revolution," Yale Law School Alumni Association, 21 April 2009 (panelist)

"Putting the Guidelines in a Half-Nelson: Fighting For and Winning Lower Sentences," National Sentencing Advocacy Workshop, March 2009

“Pathways to Law,” University of Chicago Taking the Next Step Program, January 2009 (panelist)

"The Past, Present, and Future of Criminal Sentencing and Federal Judging," American Constitution Society at University of Chicago Law School, November 2008 (panelist with Judge Robert W. Pratt) 

MEMBERSHIPS AND PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Barrister, Chicago Inn of Court
  • Senator Durbin’s Bipartisan Screening Committee for Federal Judges in the N.D. Ill.
  • Member, American Constitutional Society Judicial Nominations Task Force
  • Illinois Chair, Seventh Circuit Bar Association Committee on Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Board of Directors, Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers 
  • Board of Advisors, American Constitution Society Chicago Lawyer Chapter
  • Advisory Committee on Seventh Circuit Rules
  • American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section
  • Member, Mentoring Circles Speakers' Bureau, Chicago Bar Association's Alliance for Women
  • Steering Committee Member, Yale Law School Association of Illinois
  • Bar admissions, Illinois, the District of Columbia, U.S. Supreme Court, Seventh Circuit, and U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois 

AWARDS AND HONORS

  • Ruth Goldman Award, American Constitution Society (2014)
  • Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow (Class of 2014)
  • Excellence in Public Interest Service Award, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Federal Bar Association of Chicago (2012)
  • University of Chicago Law School Class Award, Honorable Mention (2011)

EVENTS

  • Loan Forgiveness Panel (May 3, 2012)
  • Fellowship Panel (April 6, 2012)
  • Federal and State Public Defender Panel (February 6, 2012)
  • Trial and Appellate Public Defender Panel (January 19, 2012)
  • Organizer and moderator, Public Defender Brownbag Lunch Series Summer Jobs Panel (January 5, 2012)