Theresa Amato has spent nearly three decades as a litigator, advisor, counsel, of counsel, inhouse counsel, general counsel or executive director in various nonprofit, for profit and political entities. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois, New York, and Washington, D.C. and has experience litigating at all levels of state and federal courts, testifying in front of public bodies, navigating regulatory agencies, conducting corporate transactional work in the areas of banking, trusts, and securities, and advising on or appearing in various international arbitration proceedings and enforcement disputes. Theresa joined Shearman & Sterling in 2015, and works to advance women in the firm and the profession.
Ms. Amato previously served as the executive director of various nonprofit organizations, including the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation, where she reinvigorated the Women Leaders in Philanthropy program. She became a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation in 2015 and was elected to the American Law Institute (ALI) and the Chicago Economic Club in 2014. From 2013-2015, she was a Distinguished Scholar in Residence and adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and a member of the University’s Board of Regents; she currently serves on the Advisory Boards of the Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies and the Consumer Law Review.
Theresa graduated with honors from Harvard University with a degree in Government and Economics. She attended NYU School of Law as the Root-Tilden Scholar from the 7th Circuit, served on the editorial board of the New York University Law Review, and received the Orison S. Marden Medal for moot court and the Vanderbilt Medal for her contributions to the law school. After clerking in the Southern District of New York, she was a litigator at Public Citizen, and the director of its Freedom of Information Clearinghouse in Washington D.C. In 1993, she founded the Citizen Advocacy Center, an award-winning, nonprofit organization based in DuPage County, Illinois, and in 1997, The American Lawyer named Theresa, at age 32, one of “the 45 young lawyers under 45 … whose work is changing lives.”
Ms. Amato is the first woman in U.S. history to serve as the national campaign manager of two high-profile presidential campaigns outside of the two major parties (2000, 2004); in 2002 she was a Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics where she taught “Mobilizing for Justice: How to Take on the System to Make a Difference,” and contributed “Think Boldly” to Skirting Tradition: Women in Politics Speak to the Next Generation (2004). The New York Times profiled Theresa in 2000 in its Public Lives section, and she appears in the Sundance-selected documentary, “An Unreasonable Man” (2006), and in “The Contenders,” a 2016 OZY Media documentary series for PBS on the 16 most influential presidential campaigns of the last 50 years. In 2009, The New Press (New York) published her book on barriers to entry for third parties and Independents in the political arena.