Prior to founding Clause 40 Foundation and its sister organization, Due Process Institute, Shana O'Toole served for nearly a decade as a Policy Director for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) where she led many of their criminal reform strategies and strategic partnerships with other organizations.
In addition to leading Clause 40 Foundation and Due Process Institute, 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 for many years as a criminal defense lawyer and served as pro bono 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 served as a student attorney 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 legal calling, Shana lived in New Orleans where she received an M.F.A in fiction writing. She also taught literature and writing at Xavier University of Louisiana and the University of New Orleans. Shana holds a B.A. from Sweet Briar College--an all women’s college in the Blue Ridge Mountains founded in 1901.
Shana lives with her husband (a former public defender who has prevented many state-sponsored capital deaths) and two mischievous french bulldogs in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of D.C. 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).
Email Shana at Shana@clause40.org
Follow Shana on Twitter @ShanaOtoole