Colleen F. Shanahan ’03 is an associate clinical professor of law. Her research focuses on access to justice, empirical studies of civil courts, and the intersection of civil and criminal law. She is recognized nationally for her innovative approach to clinical pedagogy as both a teacher and a scholar.
Shanahan joined the faculty in July 2018. From 2015 to 2018, she was an associate professor at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, where she founded and directed Justice Lab, a clinic focused on social justice advocacy and systemic problem-solving in areas such as civil access to justice, criminal justice reform, racial justice, housing, incarceration, and reentry. Under her guidance, Justice Lab students successfully advocated for the end of the City of Philadelphia’s policy of billing parents for their children's detention. For this work, Justice Lab garnered national media attention and was awarded the 2017 Clinical Legal Education Association’s award for the best case or project in the United States.
Before joining the Temple faculty, Shanahan was a visiting associate professor of law and director from 2012 to 2015 of the Community Justice Project at Georgetown Law, a clinic that pursued poverty law litigation and systemic advocacy projects. From 2010 to 2012, she was a fellow and supervising attorney at Georgetown. She launched her academic career at Columbia in 2009, teaching the Legal Practice Workshop.
Shanahan has both public and private sector experience. After graduating from the Law School, as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, she clerked for Judge Michael Baylson on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Judge Jane R. Roth on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. She then worked as a litigator for Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C. from 2005 to 2007 and Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller in Philadelphia from 2007 to 2010.