National Conference of
Appellate Court Clerks

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Assisting the Pro Se Litigant on Appeal

Shon Hopwood
Opperman Speaker Biography

Shon Hopwood is an Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Shon’s unusual legal journey began not at law school, but federal prison, where he learned to write briefs for other prisoners while serving a 12‐year sentence for robbing banks. Two petitions for certiorari he prepared were later granted review by the United States Supreme Court, and he won cases for other prisoners in federal courts across the country. Shon’s story has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, The New Yorker, NPR, and on 60 Minutes.

Shon received a J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law as a Gates Public Service Law Scholar. He clerked for Judge Janice Rogers Brown at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He then served as a Teaching Fellow at the Georgetown University Law Center’s Appellate Litigation Program, where he litigated criminal, immigration, civil rights, and federal statutory cases in federal courts of appeals.

Shon co‐wrote a memoir entitled Law Man: Memoir of a Jailhouse Lawyer, and his scholarship on courts and the criminal justice system has been published in the Harvard Civil Rights‐Civil Liberties, Fordham, Washington, and American Criminal Law Review as well as Georgetown Law Journal’s Annual Review of Criminal Procedure. He serves on the Board of Directors for Families Against Mandatory Minimums and is the co‐founder of Prison Professors L.L.C., a company dedicated to teaching prisoners how to transform their lives from the inside. He frequently speaks about the vital need for criminal justice reform.