Areas of Focus
Amy Breihan is a co-Director with the Missouri office of the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center (RSMJC), a non-profit civil rights law firm that fights for racial, gender, social, and economic justice through litigation on behalf of people involved in the carceral and criminal legal systems. Amy joined RSMJC as a staff attorney when it opened a new Missouri office in 2016. Prior to joining RSMJC, Amy was a trial attorney with the law firm of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, in both their Chicago and St. Louis offices. She has extensive trial, appellate, and mediation experience and has prioritized public interest work throughout her career.
Since 2012, Amy has been part of a team of advocates helping to lead efforts to seek second-chance sentences for Missouri youth sentenced to die behind bars. For the last several years, she has both provided direct representation to those clients and worked for changes in the law to end juvenile life without parole sentences. That work included state and federal habeas litigation, as well as a successful class action culminating in a systemic overhaul of the parole process for juvenile lifers. Under the reformed process, juvenile parole hearings have gone from an 86% denial rate to a 100% grant rate. Amy is the recipient of the 2020 ABA’s Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award for her work on behalf of juvenile lifers. In addition, she has played a pivotal part in state-wide litigation related to, among other things: inadequate treatment for inmates with chronic Hepatitis C; the parole revocation process that impacts thousands of Missouri parolees; Missouri’s chronically under-resourced and over-burdened public defender system; and the protection of individuals’ First Amendment rights, especially the right to protest against police violence and racial injustice.
Amy is a 2010 graduate of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. While in law school, Amy served as a student attorney with the Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, where she helped represent clients in post-conviction, actual innocence cases. Amy is a proud alumna of Grinnell College, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 2006. She lives in St. Louis with her partner, three young children, and menagerie of animals.