Alexa Van Brunt

Clinical Associate Professor of Law


Alexa Van Brunt is the Director of Legal Initiatives and an attorney at the MacArthur Justice Center, where she litigates cases designed to end mass imprisonment and promote criminal justice reform. She has served as lead counsel on class action suits addressing discrimination and excessive force by the police, the violation of prisoners' rights in correctional facilities, wrongful conviction damages actions, and the elimination of cash bond in the criminal courts. In 2017, Van Brunt and her colleagues brought a first-of-its kind class action suit on behalf of community groups (including Black Lives Matter Chicago and the NAACP) against the City of Chicago, challenging the police department’s pattern and practice of using unconstitutional force. The team achieved the right to monitor and enforce a city-wide consent decree over the police. In 2014 and 2015, Van Brunt and her colleagues, Sheila Bedi and Vanessa del Valle, settled class actions with the Department of Juvenile Justice and Department of Corrections, in which the State of Illinois agreed to provide state-funded lawyers to individuals facing the revocation of their parole. With MacArthur’s Executive Director, Locke Bowman, Van Brunt has litigated numerous wrongful conviction civil cases resulting in multi-million dollar verdicts. Van Brunt also instructs teams of students in the MacArthur Justice Center’s civil rights litigation clinic. She is the recipient of the Illinois Voters of Illinois Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO) "Legal Eagle" award, and the Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Prior to joining the Justice Center, she clerked for the Hon. Myron Thompson, U.S. District Court – Middle District of Alabama. Van Brunt received a law degree, with distinction, from Stanford Law School, and a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Brown University.

Areas of Expertise

  • Civil Procedure
  • Civil Rights
  • Criminal Law

Selected Publications

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  • BA magna cum laude, Brown University
  • JD, Stanford Law School

Prior Appointments

  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Law Clerk, 2009-2010, Hon. Myron Thompson, US District Court – Mid. District of Alabama

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