David M. Shapiro

Clinical Assistant Professor of Law


David M. Shapiro joined the MacArthur Justice Center in 2012 and represents clients seeking redress for injuries caused by the criminal justice system.  Prior to joining the faculty at Northwestern, he was a staff attorney at the ACLU National Prison Project, where his litigation and advocacy work focused on immigration detention, privatized incarceration, access to information about jails and prisons, and prisoners’ First Amendment rights. Before joining the ACLU, he worked as an associate at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, focusing on First Amendment cases, and as a law clerk to Judge Edward R. Becker, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. David also studied Russian literature in Moscow as a Fulbright Scholar.

Examples of cases Shapiro has litigated include Prison Legal News v. DeWitt, No. 2:10-cv-2594 (D.S.C. 2012), where plaintiffs obtained what is believed to be the largest monetary settlement in U.S. history in a case involving censorship by a correctional facility; Benkahla v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, No. 2:09-cv-00025 (S.D. Ind. 2009), the first major litigation to challenge the creation of Communication Management Units, a new type of unit designed to radically restrict the communications of federal prisoners allegedly connected to terrorism; and Berger v. City of Seattle, 569 F.3d 1029 (9th Cir. 2009), in which the en banc court struck down speech restrictions imposed on street performers in the Seattle Center.

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  • AB summa cum laude, Harvard College
  • JD, Yale Law School

Prior Appointments

  • Staff Attorney, ACLU National Prison Project
  • Associate, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
  • Law Clerk, Hon. Edward R. Becker, Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

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