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Shanna Rifkin

Deputy General Counsel

Shanna Rifkin is an attorney with both litigation and public policy experience dedicated to reforming the criminal legal system, with a particular passion for sentencing law. As FAMM’s Deputy General Counsel, Shanna works alongside the General Counsel to advance the initiatives of the legal department – advocating for reform of federal sentencing and corrections law and policy before Congress, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the Bureau of Prisons, and the Department of Justice.

Shanna came to FAMM from a position at Northwestern Law School’s Children and Family Justice Center, where she was fighting for clemency on behalf of incarcerated youth in Illinois. Prior to that role, Shanna was a litigation associate at a large international law firm known for its commitment to pro bono. In private practice, Shanna took on an array of pro bono criminal defense matters at both the trial court and appellate court, including successfully suppressing evidence that, if introduced against her client, would have led to the imposition of a mandatory minimum. Shanna’s love of sentencing law is in large thanks to her federal clerkships – first as a Law Clerk on the Western District of New York and then as a Law Clerk on the First Circuit Court of Appeals, where she was involved in nearly every aspect of federal criminal proceedings. She is a licensed attorney in New York and Illinois.

Shanna graduated magna cum laude from Duke University School of Law, where she was both a notes editor and published author on the Duke Law Review, a recipient of the Dean’s Award for excellence in Constitutional Law, and awarded with the Scribes Award for legal writing. She graduated cum laude from Brandeis University where she studied health care policy and gender studies. Shanna grew up in Buffalo, New York, and currently lives in Chicago with her husband and COVID dog, Lewis.