Prior to founding Due Process Institute, Shana served as a Policy Director for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). In that capacity, she led many of the organization's criminal justice reform strategies and led their strategic partnerships with other organizations on multiple legislative initiatives designed to prevent the further erosion of civil liberties in our criminal justice system.
In addition to leading Due Process Institute and its sister organization, Clause 40 Foundation, Shana frequently serves as a consultant to other criminal justice partners on a wide variety of research, writing, and reform efforts.
Prior to moving to D.C., Shana practiced as a defense lawyer representing individual and organizational clients in criminal cases in Hartford, Connecticut. She also served as pro bono immigration counsel for political refugees seeking asylum.
Shana received her J.D., magna cum laude. While in law school, she served as a Note Editor for the law review and participated in the anti-discrimination legal clinic. Following law school, Shana had the honor of clerking for Justice Joette Katz on the Connecticut Supreme Court--the first woman to have served as Chief of Connecticut’s Public Defender Office.
Before she found her calling as a defense lawyer and legal reformer, Shana lived in New Orleans where she received a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing. She taught literature and writing at Xavier University of Louisiana and the University of New Orleans. Shana holds a B.A. in English Literature, Creative Writing, and Political Science from Sweet Briar College, an all women’s college in the Blue Ridge Mountains founded in 1901.
Shana lives with her husband (who has helped to prevent over a dozen state-sponsored capital deaths) and two mischievous french bulldogs in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of D.C. (and whenever possible in Mont Tremblant, Quebec). When she’s not fighting on behalf of fundamental fairness, Shana enjoys snowboarding, watching the Washington Nationals play baseball, and listening to live music (particularly in New Orleans).
Favorite Fun Fact of the Moment: Every 40 years or so, it snows in the Sahara desert--a reminder of what is eventually possible even when it doesn't seem likely.
Email Shana at Shana@clause40.org
Follow Shana on Twitter @ShanaOtoole