Steven A. Drizin

William M. Trumbull Clinical Professor of Law
Co-Director, Center on Wrongful Convictions


Steven Drizin is a Clinical Professor of Law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law where he has been on the faculty since 1991. He served as the Legal Director of the Clinic's renowned Center on Wrongful Convictions from March 2005 to September 2013. At the Center, Professor Drizin's research interests involve the study of false confessions and his policy work focuses on supporting efforts around the country to require law enforcement agencies to electronically record custodial interrogations. Drizin co-founded the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (CWCY) in 2008, the first innocence organization to focus on representing defendants who were only teenagers when they were wrongfully convicted. Drizin and former student Laura Nirider, who co-directs the CWC, represent Brendan Dassey, a central figure in Netflix's smash docuseries Making a Murderer.

Prior to joining the Center on Wrongful Convictions, Drizin was the Supervising Attorney at the Clinic's Children and Family Justice Center where he built a reputation as a national expert on juvenile justice related issues. He was a leader in the successful effort to outlaw the juvenile death penalty and co-wrote an amicus brief in Roper v. Simmons, the United States Supreme Court's decision striking down the juvenile death penalty as unconstitutional. In August 2005, Drizin received the American Bar Association's Livingston Hall Award for outstanding dedication and advocacy in the juvenile justice field. Drizin received his BA with Honors from Haverford College in 1983 and his JD from Northwestern University School of Law in 1986 where he was the Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.

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Areas of Expertise

  • Clinical Teaching
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Wrongful Convictions

Selected Publications

  • True Stories of False Confessions (Northwestern University Press 2009) (with Rob Warden ).
  • The Problem of False Confessions in the Post DNA World, 82 North Carolina Law Review 891-1007 (2004) (with Richard A. Leo).
  • Are Juvenile Courts A Breeding Ground for Wrongful Convictions?, 34 Northern Kentucky Law Review 257-322 (2007) (with Greg Luloff ).
  • Tales From the Juvenile Confession Front: A Guide to How Standard Police Interrogation Tactics Can Produce Coerced and False Confessions From Juvenile Suspects, in Interrogations, Confessions, and Entrapment, edited by G. Daniel Lassiter (Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 2004) (with Beth A. Colgan).
  • Police-Induced Confessions, Risk Factors, and Recommendations: Looking Ahead , 34 Law And Human Behavior 49-52 (2010) (with Saul M. Kassin, Thomas Grisso, Gisli H. Gudjonsson, Richard A. Leo, and Allison D. Redlich).
  • "Owing to the Extreme Youth of the Accused": The Changing Legal Response to Juvenile Homicide, 92 Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 641-705 (2002) (with David S. Tanenhaus).

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  • BA, Haverford College
  • JD, Northwestern University

Prior Appointments

  • Clinical Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Assistant Dean, Bluhm Legal Clinic, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Associate Director, Bluhm Legal Clinic, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Director, Center on Wrongful Convictions, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Legal Director, Center on Wrongful Convictions, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Supervising Attorney, Children and Family Justice Center, Northwestern University School of Law

Recent Consulting Activities

  • Expert Witness, Office of the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C.

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