Dean Strang '85 of 'Making a Murderer' to Speak at UVA Law

Accomplished Wisconsin Trial Attorney to Address Career and the Documentary That Made Him Famous

Dean Strang '85 has made a reputation as a lawyer dedicated to his clients.


March 17, 2016

Dean Strang, a 1985 alumnus of the University of Virginia School of Law who became a household name after being featured in the Netflix documentary series "Making a Murderer," will discuss his career and the case that multiplied his fame March 23 at the Law School.

Strang’s talk, which is open to the public, will be held at 3:45 p.m. in the Law School's Caplin Auditorium. Capacity at the event is limited, and those interested in attending should RSVP. Recording will not be permitted at the event, which is sponsored by the Law School’s Program in Law and Public Service and the Virginia Journal of Criminal Law.

Strang, a Wisconsin defense attorney, represented Steven Avery, a man convicted of the murder of Teresa Halbach, a photographer who visited his home on the day she went missing in 2005. Two years earlier, Avery had been exonerated of a previous sexual assault conviction — for which he spent 18 years in prison — when DNA testing indicated another man was responsible for that crime. The 10-part documentary series explores the intricacies of the more recent trial, which resulted in Avery’s sentence of life without parole, as well as the trial of Avery’s nephew, Brendan Dassey, who was sentenced to life in prison. As a result of the program's mass viewership, Strang became the subject of extensive media attention. 

A partner in the Strang Bradley law firm, Strang’s current practice focuses on complex criminal defense and personal injury cases. His past work history includes five years as Wisconsin’s first federal defender, shareholder in two of the state’s leading criminal defense firms, co-founder of a firm with criminal defense lawyer Michael J. Fitzgerald and a short stint as an assistant U.S. attorney. His first job was as a litigation associate in a large civil law firm.

In addition to his courtroom advocacy, Strang is the author of “Worse than the Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow, and Justice in a Time of Terror.” He has taught as a lecturer in law and in continuing education programs. His extensive professional associations include seats with the Wisconsin Innocence Project Advisory Board, Seventh Circuit Pattern Jury Instructions (Criminal) Committee and the American Law Institute.

Strang and Avery trial co-counsel Jerry Buting will embark on a 27-city speaking tour starting in April. Neither is currently involved in Avery’s representation.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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