Carolyn Shapiro

  • Associate Professor of Law
  • Co-Director of the Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States

Professor Shapiro is the founder and co-director of Chicago-Kent's Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States (ISCOTUS). Her scholarship is largely focused on the Supreme Court, its relationship to other courts and institutions, and its role in our constitutional democracy. She teaches classes in legislation and statutory interpretation, constitutional law, employment law, and public interest law and policy.

From 2014 through mid-2016, Professor Shapiro took a leave of absence from Chicago-Kent to serve as Illinois solicitor general. She has argued cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Seventh Circuit, the Illinois Supreme Court, and the Illinois Appellate Courts.

Professor Shapiro blogs at ISCOTUSnow (which she also co-edits) and on the Chicago-Kent Faculty Blog and CK Now, and she also posts on Huffington Post and as a guest blogger at the American Constitution Society Blog. In addition, her commentary has appeared in a number of outlets, including the Washington Monthly website and CNN. She regularly appears as a guest commentator on Chicago Tonight and other media outlets. Professor Shapiro is also a member of the Board of Advisors for the Chicago Lawyers' Chapter of the American Constitution Society.

Professor Shapiro was a law clerk for then-Chief Judge Richard A. Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and for Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the United States Supreme Court. Prior to coming to Chicago-Kent in 2003, she worked as an associate with Miner, Barnhill & Galland, where she handled plaintiff civil rights cases, and as a Skadden Fellow with the National Center on Poverty Law.

She earned a B.A. with general and special honors in English from the University of Chicago, an M.A. from the University of Chicago Harris Graduate School of Public Policy, and a J.D. (high honors) from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was articles editor of the University of Chicago Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif.


J.D., University of Chicago Law School
M.A., University of Chicago, Harris Graduate School of Public Policy
B.A., University of Chicago



The Language of Neutrality in Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings, 123 Dickinson Law Review (forthcoming).

Numbers, Motivated Reasoning, and Empirical Legal Scholarship, 63 Buffalo Law Review 385 (2016).

Claiming Neutrality and Confessing Subjectivity in Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings, 88 Chicago-Kent Law Review 455 (2013).

The Context of Ideology: Law, Politics, and Empirical Legal Scholarship, 75 Missouri Law Review 79 (2010).

Coding Complexity: Bringing Law to the Empirical Analysis of the Supreme Court, 60 Hastings Law Journal 477 (2009).

The Limits of the Olympian Court: Common Law Judging versus Error Correction in the Supreme Court, 63 Washington & Lee Law Review 271 (2006).

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J.D. Certificate Program in Public Interest Law

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