2023 CDF Proctor Institute Leadership

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Shimica D. Gaskins

Children's Defense Fund - California

Shimica Gaskins is the executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund–California. She has worked in law and public policy specializing in legislative, regulatory and policy issues associated with criminal justice reform and children’s rights. She formerly served as the acting deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Policy (OLP) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). At OLP, Shimica worked to develop and implement innovative policy initiatives of the department and administration in areas such as smart on crime, law enforcement and emerging technologies, prison reform, reentry, and issues affecting children with incarcerated parents. Prior to joining DOJ, she was in private practice at Covington & Burling LLP where she managed complex civil litigation. She clerked for the Honorable Roger L. Gregory on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Honorable Victoria Roberts on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Shimica currently serves as vice chair on the LA County Commission for Children and Families and serves as a board member for California Budget & Policy Center and Impact Justice. She received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the Catholic University of America. She has published numerous articles and opinion editorials. The National Bar Association named her “40 Under 40” Nation’s Best Advocate in 2016 and she received the Center for Non-Profit Management Inspiring Leader award 2018.