R. Shanti Bright Brien

Attorney, Educator, Writer and Criminal Justice Reform Advocate


"Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public"                                            
                                                                           - Cornell West
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Fogbreak Justice has taught thousands of people across the country about implicit bias, creating fairness, building community trust, and making the criminal justice system more just.


Shanti specializes in criminal appeals and post-conviction proceedings. Due to diligent research, impeccable writing and zealous advocacy, she has had enormous success, including several published decisions. Read a decision on federal habeas and a decision on shackling juveniles. Shanti is also co-founder and partner at Fogbreak Justice, a training and consulting company with the mission to transform the criminal justice system through education that promotes respect, dignity, safety and fairness.

Shanti develops curriculum emphasizing experiential learning and teaching complex skills to adult learners. Through Fogbreak Justice, Shanti has taught thousands of people about reducing bias, increasing fairness, race and racism and building community trust. Shanti formerly taught at Berkeley Law at the University of California and at Mills College Graduate School of Business and Public Policy where she taught Law and Public Policy with significant attention to criminal justice policy.
Shanti's book about the criminal justice system, Almost Innocent, will be published in the fall with Mascot Books. Almost Innocent follows the legal and personal journeys of Shanti's clients, both innocent and guilty, in the context of a criminal investigation thrust into Shanti's private life.  Together their stories bring to life the criminal justice system in all its messy, complicated, tragic humanity.
Shanti's has several other published works.  She also contributes opinion pieces to the Piedmont Exedra, an online news outlet for the east bay and writes blogs for Ms. JD.  Her blog about social justice issues can be found on Medium.


With over twenty years of experience in different roles, I have made a significant impact on criminal justice reform, civil rights and equality. As a litigator, I have extensive experience in the complex area of habeas corpus litigation, where I developed expertise in constitutional principles as well as the procedural intricacies of the US criminal justice system. I have experience in prisoner civil rights litigation, including conditions of confinement and religious freedom for inmates. As a researcher and policy maker, I consulted municipalities on minority and women-owned business initiatives. I personally worked with hundreds of minority and women business owners and trade workers to research and document discrimination in public contracts and to develop policies to alleviate the impact of the historical exclusion of such groups.


As a educator, consultant, presenter and writer, I have continued to advocate for criminal justice reform and equity. I taught at Berkeley Law and Mills College Graduate School of Business and Public Policy.  I am the co-creator of two interactive educational experiences "The Mock City Council on Police Reform and Gun Control" and the CrimSim, a intensive role play of the criminal justice system. I have also written and presented several multi-media talks on constitutional and legal issues for community groups and schools in the bay area. These include: “The Constitution in Action: The Rapper 2Chainz, The Fourth Amendment, and Six Stories of Constitutional Rights in the Real World” and “Our Lips Are Sealed and Every Breath You Take: Six Strategies for a Traffic Stop After a Glass of Wine.”


I received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors and distinction in Ethnic Studies from the

University of California, Berkeley. I earned my JD from Stanford Law School. I grew up in

the Central Valley of California. Modesto to be precise.  It was the birthplace of cruising.  

I write about growing up with Guns & Roses, mentally illness and my Cowboy and Indian

family.  I now live in the East Bay with my husband and three children. I love to hike, read

memoirs, create cocktails and listen to 80s music.  


What I'm up to...

Fogbreak Justice
Experiential Education Programs for Criminal Justice Professionals and Civic Leaders
Speaking Gigs

Presentations on Implicit Bias, Criminal Justice Reform, Mass Incarceration, Constitutional Principles, Policing and other Social Justice Issues

Writing books and blogs
Almost Innocent (forthcoming from Mascot Books in Fall, 2020)
Blog about being an NFL wife, parenting, mental illness, Native America and growing up in the 80s




4200 Park Boulevard, #108 Oakland, CA 94602

Email: shanti@shantibrien.com
Tel:  925-984-8980

For any general inquiries, please fill in the following contact form:


© 2016 by R. Shanti Brien 

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