Professor Len Cavise is a recognized expert in criminal law and litigation and international human rights law. An educator at heart, he naturally promotes the fundamental values of the profession through his teaching and his active pro bono practice on behalf of society’s most vulnerable, both in the U.S. and abroad. Prior to joining DePaul College of Law in 1983, Professor Cavise had a distinguished legal career in criminal defense, first as a private practitioner in Washington, D.C., then as a staff attorney at Wounded Knee Legal Defense Committee in South Dakota.
As Director of the Program for the Americas of the International Human Rights Law Institute at DePaul, Professor Cavise taught trial and litigation advocacy to lawyers from Central and South America for four years. Then in 1999, he saw the opportunity to bring the real world of human rights work to his students and founded the Chiapas Human Rights Practicum at DePaul. As part of this program, Professor Cavise takes law students to work in human rights offices in Mexico’s Chiapas region during spring break. In addition to his innovative work at the university, he has continued to provide pro bono representation to indigent prisoners in extremely time-consuming capital cases.
Building on his long-term commitment to public service, Professor Cavise was instrumental in the creation of DePaul College of Law’s Public Interest Law Program, which he now directs. This program encourages students to pursue public interest law careers and includes a certificate program for students interested in emphasizing public interest law in their course work. Professor Cavise’s concern for his students, his career-long dedication to helping the less fortunate among us and his pursuit of human rights have made him an admired and beloved scholar and a leading advocate for equal justice in our community.