Through her award-winning legal writing and persuasive oral advocacy, Sopen Shah has established a reputation in the legal industry for excellence in appellate practice.
Shah, an appellate and commercial litigator at Perkins Coie in Madison, has represented clients in the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the 9th, 8th, 7th, 4th, 2nd, and D.C. circuits.
Last year, she devoted much of her time to litigating emergency voting rights cases leading up to the primary and presidential elections in Wisconsin, South Carolina and other states. Her team represented the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in a case about Wisconsin’s spring primary, one of the first elections to be held during the pandemic.
The case went from the Western District of Wisconsin to the U.S. Supreme Court in less than three weeks. As a result of the court’s ruling, more than 140,000 Wisconsinites whose ballots would have been otherwise rejected in the April 2020 primary had their votes counted.
Despite her busy schedule, Shah makes time to get involved in work on social causes.
“She has a robust pro bono practice focused on criminal justice issues,” said her colleague, Grace Geronimo. “Most recently, she wrote a Wisconsin Supreme Court brief on behalf of the Innocence Project and the Wisconsin Innocence Project.”
Shah said that one of the hardest parts of her job is that there are always more projects than she has time to take on, particularly pro bono ones.
“Although I’ve spent hundreds of hours on pro bono amicus curiae briefs in important criminal cases in the United States, Wisconsin and Washington Supreme Courts, I’ve had to pass on just as many interesting and impactful matters because of timing,” she said.
She also strives to maintain a balance between her work and the rest of her life.
“The best advice I’ve gotten is to appreciate the relatively quiet weeks when they come around and to take time to decompress after especially busy periods, such as trial,” she said.