Shobha L. Mahadev

Clinical Professor of Law


Shobha L. Mahadev is a Clinical Professor of Law at the Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC) at Northwestern University School of Law.  In that capacity, Shobha represents children, as well as adults convicted for offenses that occurred when they were under the age of 18, in trial, on appeal and in post-conviction proceedings, and supervises students working on those cases.  Shobha also serves as the project director for the Illinois Coalition for the Fair Sentencing of Children, overseeing policy and litigation strategy with respect to advocating for fair sentencing laws for children convicted of serious crimes.  In 2010, Shobha was part of a team of juvenile justice advocates that submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the petitioners in Graham v. Florida, in which the United States Supreme Court found unconstitutional the sentence of life without parole for juveniles in non-homicide cases.  Shobha was also the primary author of The Illinois Juvenile Defender Practice Notebook, a training manual for attorneys representing youth in court. Prior to joining the CFJC, Shobha was a litigation associate at a Chicago-based law firm and an Assistant Defender with the Office of the State Appellate Defender, First Judicial District, where she represented indigent clients convicted of criminal offenses on appeal, and argued before the Illinois Appellate Court and Illinois Supreme Court. 

Areas of Expertise

  • Trial Advocacy

Selected Publications

  • Illinois Juvenile Defender Practice Notebook (Children and Family Justice Center of the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law and the National Juvenile Defender Center 2008) (with Cathryn Crawford, and Marjorie B. Moss ).

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  • BA, University of California, Berkeley
  • JD, Northwestern University School of Law

Prior Appointments

  • Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
  • Assistant Appellate Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender
  • Adjunct Professor, Loyola University School of Law
  • Associate, Litigation Group, Sachnoff & Weaver LTD
  • Summer Associate, McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen LLP
  • Law Clerk, United States Attorney's Office

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