Senior Staff Counsel and Director of Criminal Legal System and Police Accountability
Shareese joined BPI as Senior Staff Counsel and Director of Justice Reform in 2020 continuing a career dedicated to public service. She is responsible for identifying, developing, and implementing nuanced, community-driven, and evidence-based legal advocacy strategies that work toward the goal of achieving a society that ensures community safety and justice without compromising the rights, dignity, or humanity of any person. She also provides legal, policy, and technical advice to amplify advocacy efforts by organizations and coalitions run by those most impacted by the criminal legal system.
Immediately prior to joining BPI, Shareese worked at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General for over five years, with her last role as the Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau. In that role, she oversaw investigations, litigation, and legislation to address systemic discrimination and sexual harassment in Illinois. Shareese played a leading role in negotiating the consent decree to reform the Chicago Police Department and later oversaw its enforcement. She also played a critical role in advancing legislation to improve Illinois higher education institutions’ responses to campus sexual assault. Shareese began her career as a Skadden Fellow at Legal Aid Chicago (formerly LAF), where she developed and ran a project that focused on providing holistic civil legal services to adolescents and young adults who were transitioning out of the foster care system.
Shareese serves on the advisory committee to the American Constitution Society’s State Attorney General’s Project. She was a fellow in the 2017 class of the Edgar Fellows Program and in the 2020-2021 cohort of the Public Rights Project’s Affirmative Leaders Fellowship. In 2021, Shareese was selected to be a member of the inaugural cohort for Black Bench Chicago, a public affairs leadership program for Black community leaders in Chicago. Shareese graduated from the University of Chicago Law School and cum laude from Barnard College.
I work as a civil rights attorney because I want to do my part to support the movement for racial equity and social justice. I advocate to change laws and systems to ensure that people in BIPOC and vulnerable communities have access to the resources and opportunities necessary to live safely and thrive and to remedy harms caused by systemic racism in our criminal legal system.