Leslie Shear

Emeritus Clinical Professor of Law; Emeritus Director, Family Law Project


B.A., Northwestern University, 1982
J.D., University of Miami Law School, 1985


Leslie D. Shear has been director of the Frank J. Remington Center's Family Law Project since August 2001.  The Family Law Project offers law students the opportunity to represent incarcerated clients in a broad range of family law litigation, including divorce, paternity, child custody and placement, child support, CHIPS and guardianship cases.  Professor Shear currently is working on the publication of a family law manual for incarcerated parents.

Prof. Shear joined the Law School's clinical faculty after more than twelve years in private practice with the Madison firm, Murphy Desmond, S.C.   She began at that firm as an associate in 1989 and became a shareholder in October 1997.  Her practice emphasized family law, including divorce, child custody and placement, child support, property and debt division.  In 2001, she was recognized by Madison Magazine as one of the ten best family law attorneys. Ms. Shear is currently of counsel at Murphy Desmond.

Ms. Shear was one of the founding organizers of and continues as the volunteer coordinator for the Dane County Family Law Assistance Center, a volunteer pro se legal assistance clinic that has been operating for over five years.  She has been a member of the Dane County Bar Association Delivery of Legal Services Committee since 1990, and was on the Board of Trustees of the Dane County Bar Pro Bono Trust Fund from 1996 to 2004; she is currently on the Board of Directors for Community Justice Inc., a non-profit law firm dedicated to serving low-income and underrepresented individuals.

Although a native of Miami, Florida, she is glad to call the Midwest home; she admits, however, to sprouting wings and flying south each winter.

Scholarship & Publications

Law Repository


  • Leslie Shear, with co-authors Julie Poehlmann, Danielle Dallaire and Ann Booker Loper, published an article titled "Children's Contact with their Incarcerated Parents: Research Findings and Recommendations," in the September 2010 volume of the American Psychologist.

News & Media

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Teaching Areas

  • Family Law
  • Juvenile Law

Recently Taught Courses

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