Laura Caldwell is a Lawyer-turned-Author-turned-Life-Saver. She is a former civil trial attorney, now Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Director of Life After Innocence, published author of 10 novels and 1 nonfiction book.
Before beginning her writing career, Laura was a partner in a Chicago law firm, specializing in medical malpractice defense and entertainment law. In 2001 she joined Loyola University Chicago School of Law and has taught Advanced Litigation Writing and International Criminal Law among others.
Laura’s began her writing career in women’s fiction and soon turned to mystery/thriller. Her first book, Burning the Map was voted as one of the best books the year by Barnes and Noble.com. Booklist declared “Caldwell is one of the most talented and inventive…writers around,” after the release of The Year of Living Famously and The Night I got Lucky. The release of her trilogy in 2009 received critical acclaim and nominations for prestigious industry awards.
While researching her sixth novel, The Rome Affair, Caldwell was led to the criminal case of Jovan Mosley, a young man charged with murder, sitting in a Cook County holding cell for nearly six years with no trial date. After hearing about his case, Caldwell joined a renowned criminal defense attorney to defend him, ultimately proving his innocence and inspiring her first nonfiction book, Long Way Home: A Young Man Lost in the System and the Two Women Who Found Him (Free Press, Simon & Schuster).
She is published in over 22 countries and translated into more than 13 languages. Laura is also a freelance magazine writer and has been published in Chicago Magazine, Woman’s Own, The Young Lawyer, Lake Magazine, Australia Woman’s Weekly, Shore Magazine and others.
Inspired by Mosley’s case and his challenges of rejoining society, Caldwell founded Loyola’s Life After Innocence that assists wrongfully convicted individuals or other innocent persons affected by the criminal justice system in order to help them re-enter society and reclaim their lives.
“Laura’s insightful, heartfelt, and inspirational story was one of the highlights at our recent Women’s Leadership Conference at Loyola University Chicago. Serving as our Keynote Speaker, Laura shared a message of hope and encouragement with her own lessons of how to become a successful leader, while never forgetting that doing the right thing is of paramount importance. She engaged our audience completely, leading all of us to laughter…and tears. I cannot express enough how much we appreciate her time and her message.”
Janet V. Deatherage, Ph.D., Associate Dean, Loyola University Chicago
“Compelling, informative, entertaining and thought provoking, Laura Caldwell captivates audiences with her no holds barred, tell it like it is style. If you’re looking for ‘tailored to your needs content’ and a dynamic delivery, look no further than Laura Caldwell.”
Kathleen Antrim, Vice President of National Events, International Thriller Writers
Laura Caldwell is a Renaissance woman. She is an author, a lawyer, an educator, a lifesaver, a philanthropist and a motivational speaker. I have read all her mysteries. Her writing is clear and crisp. The characters are people that you would like to meet. You see their weaknesses and strengths. The storylines are interesting and keep you reading until you finish the book. You always want to know what happens next. The best part for a Chicagoan is the feeling of home. You know the places, the sights and the sounds that are mentioned in the stories. She was a speaker for the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois. I wanted a fun, hip and happening person for our first social event of the summer. Laura filled the bill. Her journey is one that inspires us to do more. She spoke about her journey as an author, lawyer and lifesaver. Her experience kept everyone’s attention. The audience asked questions which for lawyers is pretty amazing and they left inspired, energized, and motivated. After hearing her story, I felt that the advertisement “Be like Mike” should be changed to “Be like Laura”.
Honorable Patrice Ball-Reed, President, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
Laura Caldwell served as the invited speaker for The University of Iowa Honors Convocation, as well as for our top-ranked Nonfiction Writing Program. Laura is absolutely captivating as a speaker. The students in our Honors Convocation Ceremony found her engaging and inspiring. She shared both passion and insight about the craft of writing with the UI Nonfiction MFA students. Laura infused her remarks with both humor and intelligence – two key elements to a great talk.
Jane Van Voorhis, Associate Director of Development , The University of Iowa Foundation
Both the audience and I thought you were the perfect speaker: entertaining, eloquent, informative, humorous, self-effacing, intelligent. By sharing your early development as an author, you connected with the audience in a kind of "everywoman" way; the audience, in turn, responded to your warm and humorous "trials and tribulations" with affection. The story behind Jovan Mosley and the Life After Innocence program was riveting, and I'm sure the audience came away with a better idea of how the legal system works - and doesn't. All in all, both your individual talk, and later "panel" with Michael Harvey couldn't have been better. We at Willard were proud to host you, and would love to have you back. Sue Freemire, Program Facilitator, Willard Library, Battle Creek, MI.
We certainly enjoyed having you in Iowa City and sharing with our University of Iowa alumni and students your story and journey from attorney to writer. Introducing Jovan after your reading and having him also sharing his story meant so much to those in the audience; I wish the bookstore could have had many more of your books that night!
When the Left Coast Crime conference of mystery writers and readers asked me to moderate a panel called “Which Came First: The Lawyer or the Writer?” I was excited to learn that Laura Caldwell was to be one of my panelists. Already familiar with her work, both as a novelist and as the driving force behind Loyola University Law School’s Life After Innocence program, I looked forward to hearing firsthand of her experiences. Her presentation was engaging, informative, and thought provoking—and was delivered with just the right amount of humor to keep us all entertained. She shared with us some of the many lessons of humanity and humility she’s learned from the unlikeliest sources—the wrongly convicted and imprisoned victims she’s helped after exoneration—and left us inspired to know that people who care can make a difference. If ever there’s another opportunity to hear her speak, I shall certainly take advantage of it. ~ Ken Isaacson, author of SILENT COUNSEL, a legal thriller.
I am so grateful that you were a featured speaker at our live show. The audience feedback I've gotten has been tremendous! Without exception, your name is mentioned as one of their favorite speakers on the panel. You were intelligent, inspiring and thought-provoking. You are so comfortable in your own skin, and relay your story with such honesty and humor. Thank you so much for helping to make our show such a huge success!
Laura's insightful, heartfelt, and inspirational story was one of the highlights at our recent Women's Leadership Conference at Loyola University Chicago. Serving as our Keynote Speaker, Laura shared a message of hope and encouragement with her own lessons of how to become a successful leader, while never forgetting that doing the right thing is of paramount importance. She engaged our audience completely, leading all of us to laughter...and tears. I cannot express enough how much we appreciate her time and her message.