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Colleen Flynn Shanahan

Associate Clinical Professor

Colleen Flynn Shanahan

Associate Clinical Professor

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.  

  • LL.M., Georgetown Law, 2012
  • J.D., Columbia Law School, 2003
  • A.B., Princeton University, 1998
Areas of Expertise
  • Civil access to justice
  • Clinical pedagogy
  • Criminal law
  • Empirical research
  • Juvenile justice

Publications available on SSRN

Selected Publications:

  • “Studying the ‘New’ Civil Judges,” (with Anna Carpenter, Jessica K. Steinberg, and Alyx Mark), Wisconsin Law Review, 2018
  • The Keys to the Kingdom: Judges and Pre-Hearing Procedure,” Wisconsin Law Review, 2018
  • “Measuring Law School Clinics,” (with Jeffrey Selbin, Anna Carpenter, and Alyx Mark) Tulane Law Review, 2018
  • “Trial and Error: Lawyers and Nonlawyer Advocates,” (with Anna Carpenter and Alyx Mark), Law & Social Inquiry,  2017
  • “Can a Little Representation Be a Dangerous Thing?” (with Anna Carpenter and Alyx Mark), Hastings Law Journal, 2016
  • “Lawyers, Power, and Strategic Expertise,” (with Anna Carpenter and Alyx Mark), Denver Law Review, 2016
  • “Educating the Invincibles: Strategies for Teaching the Millennial Generation in Law School,” ‚Äč(with Emily Benfer), Clinical Law Review, 2013
  • “Significant Entanglements: A Framework for the Civil Consequences of Criminal Convictions,” Criminal Law Review, 2012
Honors and Awards
  • Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project, Clinical Legal Education Association, 2017
  • Bellow Scholar, American Association of Law Schools, 2013–2015
Advanced Community Advocacy Lab Clinic
Community Advocacy Lab Clinic
Community Advocacy Lab Clinic - Fieldwork
P. Lawyer Leadership: Leading Self, Leading Others, Leading Change - Project Work
S. Lawyer Leadership: Leading Self, Leading Others, Leading Change