Faculty Information

  • Biography

    B.S., J.D., Arizona State University

    Joined Albany Law School in 1989. Was previously in private practice in Phoenix, Ariz., concentrating on criminal defense and personal injury litigation; was the training director for the Maricopa County Public Defenders Office; and a judge pro tem. Teaches CLE seminars and trial advocacy workshops throughout the nation. She also serves on Judge Kaye's task force on wrongful convictions and the state bar's committee on the future of indigent defense, and she is a referee for the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

    Professor Shanks is a frequently quoted resource for reporters around the country. 



  • The Mirror Exercise - A Quick and Easy Method to Begin Discussing Race, Gender, Ethnicity, Age and Other Differences with Your Students, The Law Teacher (Spring 2012)papers.cfm

  • Child Sexual Abuse: How to Move to a Balanced and Rational Approach to the Cases Everyone Abhors, 34 (3) American Journal of Trial Advocacy (Spring 2011)papers.cfm

  • Evaluating Children's Competency to Testify: Developing a Rational Method to Assess a Young Child's Capacity to Offer Reliable Testimony in Cases Alleging Child Sex Abuse, 58 Cleveland State Law Review 575 (2011)papers.cfm

  • Whose Story Is It, Anyway? - Guiding Students to Client-Centered Interviewing Through Storytelling 14 (no.2) Clinical Law Review 509 (2008)papers.cfm

Forthcoming Publications

Selected Achievements

  • Professor Laurie Shanks participated in the event "Teaching 'Real' Family Law: A Celebration of the Scholarship and Service of Professor Margo Melli" and the 6th Annual Midwest Family Law Consortium Workshop, held at the University of Wisconsin from April 5 to 7, 2013.

In the News

  • Professor Laurie Shanks was interviewed by NPR affiliate WAMC for the segment "Albany Law School Prof. Offers Thoughts On Legal Battle For Gloversville Chimp" on April 27, 2014.

  • “There’s a perception that people don’t confess to crimes they didn’t commit,” says Laurie Shanks, clinical professor of law at Albany Law School in Albany, N.Y. “But the science is that absolutely they do.”

    From "How much can police lie to suspects? N.Y. rulings suggest there's a limit." in The Christian Science Monitor on Feb. 21, 2014.
  • "If chimpanzees have rights, then how about dogs?" asked Laurie Shanks, professor at Albany Law. "Would that mean you couldn't legally euthanize? Would it mean we can't eat animals? Where are you going to draw the line?"

    Shanks credited the creativity behind the Nonhuman Rights Project effort and called its petition a serious attempt at expanding how the law protects animals. But she believes the petition won't succeed, because the intent behind habeas corpus is to protect humans (and only humans) from unreasonable imprisonment.

    From the Advocate column "Rights or not, caged chimp deserves better" in the Times Union on Dec. 8, 2013.

  • Professor Laurie Shanks was interviewed for "Concerns linger after botched rape case" by CBS6 on Nov. 25, 2013.
  • Professor Laurie Shanks was interviewed for the article "Raped behind bars" in the Times Union on Sept. 9, 2013.
  • “The purpose of bail is to ensure that the person shows up for trial,” said Laurie Shanks, a clinical professor of law at Albany Law School. “This is basically, ‘would you run? Do you have anything to lose?’”

    Bail is not, she said, intended to serve as punishment or a means of preventing anticipated future crimes.

    . . .

    Such a change concerns Ms. Shanks, who fears changing the law as a knee-jerk reaction to “an egregious case, like this one.” She argues that defendants are entitled to the presumption of innocence.

    From the article "Massena crime suspect Patrick Lloyd jailed without bail" in the Watertown, N.Y., Daily Times on April 13, 2013.
  • "You even have less of a likelihood (of parole) now. Now every crime is on the front page of every paper and it's on social media," Laurie Shanks, a professor at Albany Law School, said a recent interview.

    "The police union can go on Facebook or Twitter or send a petition electronically by clicking a button on a computer," she said. "The chances of parole are slimmer now than they were 30 years ago . . . In fact, the chances of parole are almost nil."

    From the article "Lamont Pride to be sentenced in Officer Peter Figoski's slaying" in Newsday on Feb. 28, 2013.
  • And the justices come in prepared, Albany Law School professor Laurie Shanks said Tuesday. Shanks, who is not involved in the Raucci case, said the justices also have expectations of their own.

    “They expect you to be prepared,” Shanks said. “Very often you get out ‘Good morning, your honor,’ and they start asking you questions.”

    The justices’ questions then focus on the issues that they saw when reading through the submissions. The direction of those questions can often go in a different direction, Shanks said.

    “Often what you believe is the most important argument, they may or may not agree,” Shanks said.

    From the article "Raucci appeal set for hearing today" in the Schenectady, N.Y., Daily Gazette on Feb. 5, 2013.
  • A person cannot stand inside the body scanner or get in line without a ticket to hand out leaflets, noted Laurie Shanks, a defense attorney and clinical professor of law at Albany Law School. Since the activists in Albany were in a public area, handing bulletins to people exiting an escalator, she said, their rights could not be restricted.

    "Airports have a legitimate interest in security, and they certainly can take reasonable means to ensure the people there, both staff and airline passengers, are safe," she said. "They can't make rules that are arbitrary."

    From the article "Airport limits get an airing" in the Albany Times Union on Dec. 6, 2012.

  • Under New York state law, the district attorney typically conducts the independent review of shootings involving police, Albany Law School professor Laurie Shanks said.


    In reference to this particular instance, Shanks said it’s prudent for the DA to review all reports before making a final determination.

    “As a general matter, transparency increases the confidence that the public has in the police department,” she said.

    From the article "DA: Binghamton police justified in 100-bullet Days Inn shooting" in the Binhamton Press & Sun-Bulletin on Nov. 17, 2012.

  • Professor Laurie Shanks was interviewed about a headline-making probe into an alleged international prostitution ring on WAMC Northeast Public Radio's Midday Magazine news program on April 27.
  • Tomaselli's admissions will likely end the Fine investigation, Albany Law School professor Laurie Shanks said.

    “I don’t believe that it would be ethical or prudent for the prosecutor to continue” without corroboration that can be verified independent of Tomaselli, said Shanks, a former criminal defense lawyer.

    From the article " Legal experts: Zach Tomaselli's admitted lying imperils Bernie Fine investigation" in the Syracuse Post-Standard on April 13.

  • Professor Laurie Shanks' article "Child Sexual Abuse: Moving toward a Balance and Rational Approach to the Cases Everyone Abhors," originally published in the American Journal of Trial Advocacy, was cited by the Indiana Supreme Court in its decision on the recent case of Hoglund v. State.
  • Laurie Shanks, a partner in Kindlon & Shanks in Albany and a professor at Albany Law School, said posting bail for a client is a recipe for disaster, whether it is barred or not.

    Ms. Shanks said she wonders what would happen if, for example, a client was bailed out by one attorney and then decided to retain a different attorney, and the original lawyer withdrew the bail. Further, she questions what an attorney on the financial hook would do if he heard through the grapevine that the client was planning to flee.

    From the article " Lawyer's Offer to Cover Client's Bail Raises Ethical Concerns" in the New York Law Journal on March 15.

  • Albany Law School Professor Laurie Shanks said some jurors could have been simply bored.

    "There is a real danger that when a trial is too long and so complicated like the ballot fraud case, jurors start to not pay attention. Prosecutors routinely charge everything they can instead of everything they should," Shanks said.

    She said any retrial might benefit the defense.

    "The defense learns a lot during a trial and both sides now know the theme, theories and all the evidence," Shanks said.

    From the article "Fraud counts 'too much'" in the Albany Times Union on March 14.

  • Laurie Shanks, a law professor at Albany Law School, said the law may be a hurdle for prosecutors when a witness refuses to come forward or is afraid to testify or in domestic violence cases lacking physical evidence where the victim declines to testify.

    From the article "Lag in kidnapping case brings suspect's release" in the Albany Times Union on Feb. 29.

  • The affidavit appears to have been filed primarily for the purpose of generating publicity, said Laurie Shanks, a professor at Albany Law School. “Even assuming that the information about Mrs. Fine is accurate ..., the conclusion drawn is pure speculation,” Shanks said. “Unfortunately, while this type of information can form the basis for an explosive press conference, it is unlikely to be permitted as evidence in the pending lawsuit.”

    From the article "Lawyer for Bernie Fine's accusers pressures Syracuse University to settle lawsuit by alleging Fine's wife had sex with players" in the Syracuse Post-Standard on Jan. 31.

  • But Albany Law School professor and former criminal defense attorney Laurie Shanks said Friday that Fine’s reputation has been damaged even if Tomaselli’s allegations are proven false.

    “Once an allegation is made, the person’s life is destroyed and while it is very difficult to prove child sex abuse because there is often no physical evidence, it is impossible to disprove an allegation,” she said. “What’s equally upsetting and sort of difficult to deal with is that if you are accused of this crime and you are absolutely innocent, your life is destroyed. I mean wasn’t Bernie Fine fired?

    “The reality is the life he had is over. The respect, the history, everything he did that was good was wiped out in an instant.”

    From the article "Confronted with evidence that he lied, Bernie Fine accuser Zach Tomaselli tearfully admits, 'You caught me'" in the Syracuse Post-Standard on Jan. 20.