Growing a Supreme Court Boutique
In January 2018, John Paul Schnapper-Casteras left his position as special counsel for appellate and Supreme Court advocacy at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund to launch his own law firm.
Schnapper-Casteras, who goes by JP, recently announced that Carolyn Shapiro(above), former Illinois solicitor general and faculty member at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, was joining him as of counsel. She also co-directs the law school’s Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States.
We caught up with them by email for a conversation about the new partnership:
How did this arrangement come about?
JP (at left): We first met back in 2015 at Stanford Law School’s “Supreme Court at Mid-Term” conference, and crossed paths at a gathering of the American Constitution Society a few years later in D.C. On both occasions, I was struck, not just by her extraordinary appellate acumen, but by Carolyn’s longstanding commitment to public interest law.
Carolyn: I’d add that from my perspective, when I met JP at those meetings, I was very impressed by his energy, enthusiasm, and intellect. He’s a lot of fun to talk law with, and I am very excited to be collaborating with him.
Carolyn, why did this path appeal to you? You probably could have had your pick of BigLaw firms to join. I continue to be a full-time law professor at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. I love teaching, and I very much value the intellectual independence that comes with being an academic. Working with JP will allow me to continue to practice—which I also love—in ways that are consistent with my academic interests and convictions and with my commitment to working in the public interest.
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