Get to Know a Professor: Shon Hopwood, Georgetown University Law Center

Law Preview retains a roster of law professors that any school would envy.  Not only are they accomplished scholars, but they represent 24 Teacher of the Year Award Winners, five former clerks to justices on the Supreme Court and two federal prosecutors.  But don’t be intimidated by their credentials — above all they are fun, engaging and warm people who simply love to teach.  To show you their human side, we asked our professors to share their thoughts on a range of subjects — from the #metoo movement to Hamilton to their favorite Stranger Things character.  Their responses might make you look at law professors a bit differently.

So, let’s get to know: Shon Hopwood, Associate Professor of Law, at Georgetown University Law Center.

Get to Know Shon Hopwood

Maybe you recognize Professor Hopwood from the heartwarming and inspirational profile that CBS’s 60 Minutes did about him; if so, you know that his unusual legal journey began prior to him attending law school and included the U.S. Supreme Court granting two petitions for certiorari he prepared — while he was an inmate in a federal prison. Shon’s research and teaching interests include criminal law and procedure, civil rights, and the constitutional rights of prisoners. He received a J.D. as a Gates Public Service Law Scholar from the University of Washington School of Law. He served as a law clerk for Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  And his legal scholarship has been published in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties, Fordham, and Washington Law Reviews, as well as the American Criminal Law Review and Georgetown Law Journal’s Annual Review of Criminal Procedure.

What is your LEAST favorite thing about being a law professor?

Being called “Professor” Hopwood. I’m not big into titles.

Do you have a favorite fiction/non-fiction book that touches on the subject-matter you teach for Law Preview?

Yes, Law Man: Memoir of a Jailhouse Lawyers… a shameless plug for my book!

Name one song you listened to “on repeat” in 2017 and provide some insights about why couldn’t you get enough of it?

The Weeknd’s “The Party & The After Party.” I’m guessing that I’m the only law professor who picked a song by The Weeknd.

Excluding legal/academic accomplishments, what is your proudest achievement?

Surviving federal prison and not going back!

If you had a son or daughter beginning law school next fall, what is the BEST piece of advice you could offer them?

Read the book “Getting to Maybe” and sign up for Barbri Law Preview (my wife did before starting as a 1L and found it very helpful … even before I started teaching for them!).

Do you have an opinion about the social impact of the 2017 Women’s March and/or #metoo campaign?

It has been long overdue. Men simply need to do better.

List one show you “binge-watched” in 2017 and what was it about the show that captivated your attention?

Westworld. The characters and themes are very complex and interesting. The plot takes awhile to understand, but once you understand the stakes, the show is riveting.

What is your social media “guilty pleasure” — who/what do you follow on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook that you find fascinating, and why?

I follow The Donald on Twitter. I shouldn’t, but I can’t stop myself.

Favorite SNL Presidential Impersonation?

Will Ferrell as George W. Bush.

What is your favorite quote and what makes it so meaningful to you?

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” I make this pitch often to Congress when discussing criminal justice reform.

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