Associate Clinical Professor & Director, BCIP
Sharon L. Beckman is the founding Director of the Boston College Innocence Program (BCIP), an academic and clinical legal educational program that engages law and undergraduate students in studying the problem of wrongful convictions and working to remedy and prevent these injustices through direct client representation and policy reform collaborations. Named a 2020 Massachusetts Lawyer of the Year, Beckman serves on the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Eyewitness Identification, the Massachusetts Conviction Integrity Working Group, the Innocence Network’s Ethics and Best Practices Committee, and the Criminal Justice Act Screening Panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
A Boston College Law School faculty member since 1996, Beckman is the recipient of the highest teaching awards bestowed by Boston College, including the University Distinguished Teaching Award, the Law School's Award for Faculty Excellence, and the Ruth-Arlene Howe Black Law Students Association Faculty Member of the Year Award. In addition to the BCIP Clinic and Wrongful Convictions seminar, Beckman has also taught the Boston College Defender Criminal Defense Trial Clinic and courses in criminal law, criminal procedure, constitutional law, the Supreme Court, white collar crime, and criminal punishment.
Beckman is an honors graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Michigan Law Review and received the Henry M. Bates Memorial Scholarship, the Law School's top honor. She served as a law clerk to the Hon. Sandra Day O'Connor of the Supreme Court of the United States and to Hon. Frank Coffin of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Prior to joining the BC Law faculty, Beckman practiced law for seven years with law firms in Boston and Chicago. Her practice included criminal and civil litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts, administrative agency proceedings, and internal corporate investigations.
A former captain of the Harvard Women's Swimming & Diving and Water Polo teams, Beckman was the first New England woman to swim across the English Channel and was ranked first in the United States and third in the world among female marathon swimmers. A nationally ranked United States Masters swimmer, in 2020 Beckman was inducted into the New England Masters Swimming Hall of Fame.