David M. Shapiro

Director of Appellate Litigation

Chicago, Illinois


(312) 503-0711

Areas of Focus

David M. Shapiro is the Director of Appellate Litigation. His national practice focuses on protecting the rights of men and women caught up in the criminal justice system through strategic litigation in the federal courts of appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.


Shapiro has litigated and won ten civil rights cases in federal courts of appeals from coast to coast. He has obtained reversal of district court opinions in cases on topics that include excessive force, prisoner-on-prisoner violence, the First Amendment rights of prisoners, the right to be free from retaliation by prison staff, and access to medical care in prison. In his trial court practice, Shapiro won a case that resulted in the wholesale invalidation of a statute on First Amendment grounds.


Shapiro has published articles on prisoners’ rights in the George Washington Law Review, the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, and the online component of the Michigan Law Review.


Shapiro studied Russian literature in Moscow as a Fulbright Scholar and is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School. Prior to joining the faculty at Northwestern, Shapiro was a staff attorney at the ACLU National Prison Project. He also 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.