EARLY EDUCATION AND CAREER
Breanna N. Kantor completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Law, Letters, and Society and minored in Italian Language and Literature. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.
Throughout college and law school, Ms. Kantor had the opportunity to gain significant defense experience. She was involved in a high-profile case known as the Brown’s Chicken Massacre while at the Forensic Science Division of the Cook County Public Defender’s Office, later returning as a law clerk in the Homicide Task Force Division. Ms. Kantor also interned at the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern School of Law to work with exonerees and research her B.A. thesis, titled “Guilty Until Proven Innocent? A Commentary on the Flaws of the American Criminal Justice System,” in which she argued for a nationwide ban of the death penalty based on systemic inaccuracies.
During her time in Los Angeles, Ms. Kantor was a member of the USC Post-Conviction Justice Project Law School Clinic. Providing relief to victims of domestic abuse, she represented women serving life sentences in the state of California at their parole hearings. She also successfully litigated a habeas corpus petition regarding the unconstitutionality of a parole denial, and assisted in Miller appeals for juveniles sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
After completing law school, Ms. Kantor enhanced her trial skills as a criminal defense staff attorney for Cabrini Green Legal Aid. She litigated trials and motion hearings in both adult and juvenile delinquency cases throughout Cook County, practicing an interdisciplinary model of holistic representation that includes criminal records relief. Ms. Kantor frequently argued before the Illinois Prisoner Review Board as the lead attorney for CGLA’s juvenile parole revocation caseload, an automatic appointment of counsel as a result of the M.H. v. Monreal Consent Decree. Through this assignment, Ms. Kantor worked with stakeholders to improve the Illinois juvenile aftercare system and establish a more fair and efficient parole revocation process that achieves better outcomes for system-involved youth.
Ms. Kantor also worked as a staff attorney for the Chicago Law and Education Foundation, hosting legal clinics and expungement field trips at various Chicago Public Schools to provide legal referrals, assistance with temporary immigration status, and criminal record analysis.
Ms. Kantor is a longtime advocate of public interest initiatives and community outreach, regularly presenting on topics related to juvenile justice. As a member of the Chicago Bar Association, she is actively involved in mentoring programs and Young Lawyers Section events. Ms. Kantor also serves on the University of Southern California Gould Alumni Association Chicago Committee.