Theo Shaw is a Georgetown University Law Center E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow in Washington, D.C. Shaw graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He began attending the University of Washington School of Law in 2015 and graduated with honors in 2018. From 2019 to 2021, Shaw earned a Master of Laws (“LLM”) from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Shaw was a member of the Jena Six, who eventually pleaded no guilty to the battery of a white classmate in Jena, Louisiana in 2006, when Shaw was 17 years old. The prosecutor’s decision to prosecute the six teenagers with attempted murder sparked outcry in the media and among the general public across the country. The charges were later dropped, but Shaw was imprisoned for several months.
Shaw was a member of the Jena Six, who ultimately pleaded no contest to the battery of a white classmate in Jena, Louisiana in 2006, when Shaw was 17. The prosecutor’s decision to charge the six teenagers with attempted murder sparked widespread media and public outrage across the country. Although the charges were later dropped, Shaw was imprisoned for several months.
Shaw interned with the Innocence Project, a nonprofit dedicated to releasing wrongfully convicted people, in 2010. Shaw worked as a community advocate at the Southern Poverty Law Center after graduating from the University of Louisiana in September 2012, where his activities were part of the center’s efforts to correct violent and inhumane conditions for incarcerated children and adults.
Shaw eventually picked the University of Washington School of Law, where he received the Gates Public Service Law Scholarship in 2015. When he received his law degree in 2018, he was chosen class valedictorian by his peers and instructors.
Shaw expressed his sense of responsibility as a young attorney in his valedictorian speech, saying, “We may not be guilty or have had anything to do with the injustices that other people experienced in the criminal justice system.” But we have a responsibility to the poor, the condemned, and those who may not be popular in the eyes of the majority.”
From 2018 to 2019, he worked as the Law Clerk to Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson, a highly sought-after post. Then, in 2019, Shaw was one of three outstanding grantees chosen each year for a post-graduate two-year fellowship under Georgetown Law’s E. Barrett Prettyman Fellowship Program. The fellowship’s goal is to provide high-quality representation to adults and adolescents accused of crimes while also providing rigorous training in criminal trial advocacy and teaching to law school graduates.