MILWAUKEE -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin has hired University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School graduate Emma Shakeshaft as its Equal Justice Works fellow. Deeply devoted to fighting for the equal rights and fair treatment of marginalized communities within the criminal justice system, Emma’s work with the ACLU focuses on combating legal procedures that criminalize poverty and perpetuate racial disparities.

“The opportunity to be an Equal Justice Works fellow with the ACLU of Wisconsin allows me to continue working and researching issues related to criminal justice, municipal courts, and racial equity,” Emma said. “I have a personal commitment to practice law in areas that center under-represented communities, specifically within the areas of civil rights, racial justice, and criminal justice reform”.

With a mission to challenge modern-day debtors’ prisons, Emma hopes to push courts in Wisconsin to adopt more rational and equitable approaches toward handling criminal justice debt, a rigorous pursuit that involves both constitutional law and judicial procedures as well as community advocacy and coalition-building.

“Emma is a great addition to our legal team at a time when many people in Wisconsin are looking to the ACLU to stand with them against assaults on their rights and liberties,” said Larry Dupuis, the ACLU of Wisconsin’s legal director.

Prior to joining the ACLU, Emma served as a law and society postdoctoral fellow at Newcomb College Institute at Tulane University. She was also a doctoral fellow at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago, Illinois.

While studying law at UW-Madison, she was on the Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender, & Society and the Wisconsin International Law Journal. She also completed her doctorate and a master’s of science degree in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was awarded an Institute for Legal Studies - Law and Society fellowship and an Advanced Opportunity Fellowship. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, where she majored in Sociology and International Relations.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Emma at this essential time for civil rights and liberties in our country and our state,” said ACLU of Wisconsin executive director Christopher Ott.

The ACLU of Wisconsin is a non-profit, non-partisan, private organization whose 13,000 members support its efforts to defend the civil rights and liberties of all Wisconsin residents. For more on the ACLU of Wisconsin, visit our  About Us page of this website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.