Kristine Schanbacher is a human rights activist and attorney running for Congress in Illinois’ 7th Congressional District who has spent her career fighting for human rights. She helped overturn a statute that would have effectively closed all abortion clinics in Wisconsin, won asylum for a transgender woman fleeing violence in Mexico, restored wrongfully terminated SNAP benefits for people in Illinois, and obtained a reduced sentence for a juvenile who was unconstitutionally sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. She has lobbied Congress to protect SNAP benefits, protect reproductive rights, eliminate anti-Semitism, preserve the separation of church and state, and enact common-sense gun safety regulations. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two dogs.
From an early age, Kristine knew that she wanted to be an attorney. In eighth grade, she was a volunteer with Teen Court, a diversion program for first-time juvenile offenders who were tried and sentenced by a jury of their peers, rather than sent into the criminal justice system. The experience showed her what a system centered on rehabilitation, rather than punishment, could achieve, and she was hooked.
Drawn to the positive, vibrant culture of Northwestern University, Kristine moved to the Chicago area from Omaha, Nebraska where she grew up, to earn both her undergraduate and law degrees. During law school, she interned in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and worked at Corboy & Demetrio, a nationally recognized plaintiff’s law firm. These experiences cemented her passion for social justice and human rights law.
Following law school, Kristine worked her way up to Senior Managing Associate at Dentons US LLP, and she sits on the national associates’ committee for Dentons. Kristine specialized in Litigation and Dispute Resolution.
But it’s her pro bono work that drives her. She has fought to reinstate wrongfully terminated Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, won asylum for a transgender woman fleeing violence in Mexico, worked to overturn a statute that would have shuttered every abortion clinic in Wisconsin, and obtained a reduced sentence for a juvenile unconstitutionally sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In recognition of this work, the American Bar Association recently named Kristine one of the Top 40 Young Lawyers in the U.S.
In addition to her human rights victories in the courtroom, Kristine has lobbied Congress to protect SNAP benefits, protect reproductive rights, eliminate anti-Semitism, preserve the separation of church and state, and enact common-sense gun safety regulations.
Kristine is actively involved the Chicagoland community. She co-chairs the junior leadership board of the National Immigrant Justice Center, and she is an associate board member of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Kristine is also a member of the Safety & Well Being Task Force and the Land Use & Development Task Force for the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents. Additionally, Kristine helps provide meals to members of the Chicagoland community as a volunteer with the Chicago Help Initiative, and she is a member of the Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs, an organization dedicated to promoting and strengthening US-Israel relations and reproductive rights.
Kristine resides in Chicago with her husband and their two dogs.
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