Wendy Hinton Vaughn

Wendy Vaughn
Title: Director of Clinics and Clinical Professor
Office Location: Swen Parson 198C
Office Phone: 815-962-9980
Email: wvaughn@niu.edu
Education: B.A., Southwestern University
J.D., New York University School of Law
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Wendy Hinton Vaughn is a clinical professor in the College of Law’s Clinical Faculty and supervising attorney at the Zeke Giorgi Legal Clinic.  Professor Vaughn teaches Family Law and Poverty Law.  Professor Vaughn directs the Civil Justice Clinic, which received the Excellence in Legal Education award from the Illinois State Bar Association in 2018.

In addition to her academic appointment, Professor Vaughn is the Supervising Attorney of NIU College of Law’s Zeke Giorgi Legal Clinic facility located in Rockford, Illinois.  Professor Vaughn joined Northern Illinois University College of Law in August 2007 and initially supervised students in the Elder Law Clinic and Domestic Abuse Clinic.  Professor Vaughn previously co-directed the COVID-19 Legal Response Clinic, which was awarded the Excellence in Legal Education award from the Illinois State Bar Association in 2021.

Professor Vaughn has dedicated her legal career to social change advocacy and poverty law on behalf of low-income clients. In June 2018, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Professor Vaughn to the Illinois Supreme Court’s Commission on Access to Justice.  The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Professor Vaughn to a second term on the Commission on Access to Justice in 2021. 

Professor Vaughn is a member and past Chair of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Education, Admissions and Competency.  Professor Vaughn is a member and past Chair of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services.  Professor Vaughn is an appointed member of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Family Law Section Council.   She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) and Children’s Safe Harbor.  Professor Vaughn previously served as President of Prairie State Legal Service’s Board of Directors for over six years and as a member of the Board for ten years. She currently serves as member of Prairie State Legal Services’ Campaign for Legal Services.

Professor Vaughn’s work in the community has been recognized with the Shining the Light on Domestic Violence Recognition Award in 2016 and the NIU College of Law’s Honorary Alumna Award in 2015. She is actively involved with the 17th Judicial Circuit Court’s Family Violence Coordinating Council and serves as a member of the Domestic Violence Coordinated Court Core Team.  Professor Vaughn is appointed by the Illinois Department on Aging to the Region 1 At-Risk Adult Fatality Review Team.  Professor Vaughn is appointed to the City of Rockford Mayor’s Taskforce on Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention and serves on the Family Peace Center’s Steering Committee.

Before coming to NIU, Professor Vaughn worked as the supervising attorney of the Family Law Advocacy Group at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, the legal director of Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center, and as a supervising attorney at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. She is a member of the California, District of Columbia, and Illinois bars. 

Professor Vaughn is a 1998 graduate of New York University School of Law where she was awarded the Ann Petluck Poses Prize for outstanding work in a clinical course requiring student practice. While at NYU, she served as a teaching assistant for the Lawyering Program and the Brennan Center for Justice Public Policy Advocacy Clinic and served as a staff editor for the Review of Law and Social Change. After graduation, the National Association of Public Interest Law (Equal Justice Works) awarded Professor Vaughn a two-year fellowship to create a project on behalf of domestic violence survivors at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. She received the Frederick B. Abramsom Public Service Award in recognition of her work at the Legal Aid Society. Professor Vaughn has a B.A. in International Studies from Southwestern University.


Areas of Expertise

  • Domestic violence law
  • Family law
  • Elder law
  • Poverty law


  • Presenter, Helping Survivors Through the Order of Protection Process, Remedies Renewing Lives (June 16, 2022)
  • Presenter, Legal Services for Survivors Lunch and Learn, 17th Judicial Circuit Court – Winnebago County (March 17, 2021).
  • Order of Protection episode, 17th Judicial Circuit Court podcast series (March 14, 2021).
  • Trainer, Illinois Orders of Protection: Understanding the Basics, Remedies: Renewing Lives and Domestic Violence Assistance Center, Rockford, IL (February 24, 2021).
  • Moderator, Residential Tenants’ Rights Toolkit (recorded CLE) (February 11, 2021).
  • Presenter, Safety First: Understanding the Intersection of Illinois Orders of Protection, Family Law, and Remedies, Winnebago County Domestic Violence Assistance Center (January 24, 2020).
  • Panelist, Why Can’t We Be Friends? Collaborating with Non-Clinical Faculty, Midwest Clinical Conference (October 18, 2019).
  • Presenter, Providing Legal Services to Help Survivors State Safe, Invirogen, Thermo Fisher Scientific (October 8, 2019).
  • Presenter, Estate Planning and Advance Directives, Rosecrance Ware Center (September 27, 2019).
  • Co-Chair, Welcome and Introductions, CLEA New Clinician’s Conference (May 4, 2019).
  • Presenter and Master of Ceremonies, 18th Annual Hands Around the Courthouse, 17th Judicial Circuit Court Family Violence Coordinating Council (April 30, 2019).
  • Co-presenter, Addressing Court-Related Barriers to Survivors’ Economic Security: Building Multilevel Strategies for Change (webinar), Center for Court Innovation (April 3, 2019).
  • Invited participant, Listening Session on Collaboration between Civil Legal Attorneys and Supervised Visitation Centers in Custody Cases (online), hosted by Inspire Action for Change (March 12, 2019).

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