Who We Are

TIM JON SEMMERLING holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from Indiana University, an M.A. in Middle East Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and a J.D. with certificate in criminal law from DePaul University’s College of Law. He has trained at the Clarence Darrow Death Penalty Defense College Mitigation Program (Chicago, Illinois), the Trial Lawyers College Death Penalty Seminar (DuBois, Wyoming), and the National Psychodrama Training Center (Black Hills, South Dakota), and he holds BAR membership in the State of Illinois.

His books are Israeli and Palestinian Postcards: Presentations of National Self (University of Texas Press, 2004) and “Evil” Arabs in American Popular Film: Orientalist Fear (University of Texas Press, 2006), which the Arab American National Museum has awarded “Honorable Mention, 2006 Book Award in Adult Non-Fiction” and the American Library Association and Choice Magazine have awarded “Outstanding Academic Title, 2007.” His books are held in over 600 academic, public, and private libraries throughout the world and used as materials in university courses. His articles are “Those ‘Evil’ Muslims! Orientalist Fears in Narratives of the War on Terror” (The Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Vol. 28, No. 2, 2008); “The John Marshall Clemens Law Ledger: A Legal Vestige of the American Frontier” (Western Legal History: The Journal of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2008); and “Effectively Humanizing Our Client” (Voice for the Defense, Vol. 40, No. 8, 2011). He has co-authored a manuscript, titled An Overview of Post-Conflict Justice, for use at the International Human Rights Law Institute at DePaul University and the Iraq History Project.

Dr. Semmerling has served as Jeanne M. and Joseph P. Sullivan Human Rights Fellow, working with the Iraq History Project; Research Fellow at The Council of American-Islamic Relations, researching the arrests of Muslims after 9/11; Senior Research Fellow for the International Human Rights Law Institute, providing sentencing research in an enemy-combatant case in the 7th Circuit; Faculty Member for the National Legal Aid and Defense Association (NLADA) and the National Alliance of Sentencing Advocates and Mitigation Specialists (NASAMS), the Clarence Darrow Death Penalty Defense College, the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System, and the Cook County Public Defender's Office advocating mitigation for capital and non-capital cases, improvements in attorney-client relations, and cultural considerations for Muslim and Arab American defendants; and Guest Speaker at the University of London’s Framing Muslims Project and Southern Methodist University’s Scott-Hawkins Lecture Series, speaking about the War on Terror, law, and popular culture.

Dr. Semmerling has contributed research to the Capital Jury Project, an academic study of jury decision-making and behavior in death penalty cases, and has served on the executive committee of NASAMS from 2009 to 2011. His full CV is available on request.

STEPHEN M. O’CONNOR holds a B.A. from Loyola University in Chicago and a J.D. from The John Marshall Law School. He has trained at the Clarence Darrow Death Penalty Defense College Mitigation Program (Chicago, Illinois) and the Trial Lawyers College Death Penalty Seminar (DuBois, Wyoming). He is also an attorney in the State of Illinois.

He is co-founding member of The Mercury Endeavor and has contributed research to the Capital Jury Project, an academic study of jury decision-making and behavior in death penalty cases, through the Center for Justice in Capital Cases at DePaul University.

Mr. O’Connor has previously clerked for the Juvenile Division of the Public Guardian of Illinois and for the Cook County Public Defender Office’s Felony Trial Division. He has also worked as a volunteer for Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic, helping indigent clients with housing and family legal claims. His full CV is available on request.

Photography by Jamie DiVecchio Ramsay



The Mercury Endeavor, LLC is pleased to announce an expansion of our services with the opening of the O’Connor & Semmerling Law Group, LLC – a criminal defense firm. O’Connor & Semmerling Law Group is proud to announce its collaboration with the esteemed Law Offices of Raymond G. Wigell, Ltd. Please visit our new websites to learn more about our legal services and us.

Book Review

The Mercury Endeavor, LLC provides book reviews that defense teams will find applicable, insightful, and reflective for their practices. Book reviews are published to this website periodically. Viewers may quote from this webpage but must properly attribute and cite the work to Dr. Tim Jon Semmerling or Stephen M. O'Connor, The Mercury Endeavor, LLC, and the collateral sources cited herein:

Being Effective With Juries
Tim Jon Semmerling, PhD, JD

BOOK REVIEW: Sundby, Scott E. A Life and Death Decision: A Jury Weighs the Death Penalty..New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2005. 220 pages. ISBN: 9780230600638.

Death-penalty defense teams ensure their legal effectiveness with the courts, in part, by following the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases.1 Just the same, defense teams must also find ways to improve their influential effectiveness with their juries during trials.

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