Susan W. McGraugh, J.D.
Professor; Director, Criminal Defense Clinic
Center for International and Comparative Law
Client Counseling, Criminal Defense Advocacy, Criminal Defense Clinic, Death Penalty Seminar, Externship Clinic, Lawyering Practice, Trial Ad II
B.A., Drake University, 1985
J.D., Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, 1988
Community Work and Service
Susan McGraugh was the only one of her classmates to practice criminal law upon graduation.
She spent two years at a small firm before joining the Missouri State Public Defender's
Office in St. Louis in 1990.
She served as a trial attorney representing indigent, homeless and mentally ill clients charged with criminal offenses. She also worked in the Office’s Capital Defense Unit. Professor McGraugh wrote and argued criminal appeals in the Eastern, Western and Southern Districts of Missouri.
After eight years with the Public Defender’s Office, she joined Legal Services of Eastern Missouri and created the Legal Services Clinic at St. Patrick’s Center, a resource agency for homeless individuals and families — in particular those with mental illnesses and chemical dependencies. In 1999, Professor McGraugh continued her policy and advocacy work with the St. Louis Archdiocesan Human Rights Office as director of its Restorative Justice Program. In that capacity, she advocated for the end of the death penalty and helped with the drafting and passage of legislation prohibiting the execution of mentally retarded criminal defendants.
Concurrently, she served as a provisional municipal judge in St. Louis city. “I’ve learned there are a lot of gaps in representation,” Professor McGraugh says. “Public defenders represent people charged with felonies and misdemeanors but every day someone with a municipal violation goes to jail without benefit of an attorney. I’m very interested in seeing access to counsel for all people.”
Professor McGraugh joined Saint Louis University School of Law in 2002 as an adjunct clinical professor while working with the Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry on a program to help incarcerated mothers with custodial issues.
Since joining the School of Law full time in 2003, Professor McGraugh has directed the Criminal Clinic’s intern and externships. She is also networking with mental health care providers to offer representation to their clients.
“How great is it to have a job that allows me to take any pro bono case I want?” says Professor McGraugh. “I can find people or groups of people that need my help and take their cases. I can network with agencies on issues I feel strongly about. And, I can teach young attorneys how to care about these people, which satisfies the part of me that seeks social justice.”