Wendy Hinton Vaughn

Wendy Vaughn
Title: Clinical Associate Professor
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 associate professor in the College of Law’s Clinical Faculty and supervising attorney at the Zeke Giorgi Legal Clinic. Professor Vaughn teaches Family Law, Poverty Law, and the Civil Justice Clinic. In July 2018, the Illinois State Bar Association awarded the Civil Justice Clinic with the Excellence in Legal Education Award.  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 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.  Professor Vaughn currently serves as member of the Board of Directors of Prairie State Legal Services, where she served as President of the Board for six years. Professor Vaughn is a member of the Board of Directors of Children’s Safe Harbor and is Chairperson of a multidisciplinary team that oversees Rockford’s Youth Court program in all four of Rockford’s public high schools.  She is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services and the Standing Committee on Legal Education, Admissions and Competency. She is actively involved with the 17th Judicial Circuit Court Family Violence Coordinating Council and serves as a member of the Domestic Violence Coordinated Court Core Team and the At Risk Adult Fatality Review Team.  

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


  • 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.


  • Youth Court is Right Thing to Do, Rockford Register Star, February 24, 2014.
  • Domestic Violence Impact Panel, The Lawyer: The Magazine of the Winnebago County Bar Association, Sept. 2011, at 14. 
  • Children’s Safe Harbor, The Lawyer: The Magazine of the Winnebago County Bar Association, Dec. 2010, at 6.
  • The Illinois Domestic Violence Act: Protecting Vulnerable Seniors and Disabled Adults, CBA Record, Special Issue: Seniors and the Law, Feb./March 2010, at 40.