Shobha L. Mahadev

Clinical Professor of Law


Shobha L. Mahadev is a Clinical Professor of Law at the Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC), housed in the Bluhm Legal Clinic. In that capacity, Shobha represents adolescents, as well as adults, facing trial or convicted for offenses that occurred in their youth, on appeal and in post-conviction and clemency 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 youth and young adults convicted of serious crimes. The Coalition’s work and Shobha’s expertise have contributed to significant reforms of sentencing laws in Illinois and across the country. She has co-authored numerous amicus curiae briefs submitted in the U.S. Supreme Court, state supreme courts, and other courts of review. 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. 


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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