Meet Melanie Shapiro ⁠— Advocate for Change

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For Melanie Shapiro, change is a constant in her life. As director of Juvenile Justice Policy for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, Melanie is an advocate for change (and sometimes for stability, ensuring policies remain unchanged). Today, Melanie’s involvement spreads beyond her professional career, as she leverages her skills and experiences through her involvement with Jewish Professional Women (JPW) and the Baltimore Jewish Council (BJC).

Tell us about your professional life.

I work for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, in the Government Relations Division. For 15 years I was a juvenile defender and moved into policy work full-time about two years ago. I advocate on behalf of the Office of the Public Defender and our clients on legislative and policy issues year-round and in Annapolis during the 90-day legislative session.

What made you pick a career in Juvenile Justice?

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to work in the juvenile justice field. I don’t really remember the “why” anymore. I enjoy law, I am passionate about advocacy and I also like working with children – this job provides me the opportunity to combine all three.

What does your involvement with The Associated look like?

I’m currently on the Committee for Jewish Professional Women (JPW) and I am a co-chair for the Baltimore Jewish Council’s (BJC) Government Relations Committee. The majority of my involvement is with those two committees.

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