Cary Martin Shelby Professor of Law

Phone: 540-458-8513


Office: 446 Lewis Hall 

SSRN  •  CV •   Scholarly Commons

Area of Expertise

Business Law, Financial Regulation


BS, University of Illinois

JD, Northwestern University

LLM, University of Wisconsin


Cary Martin Shelby joined W&L Law from DePaul University College of Law in 2019. She specializes in corporate and securities law and teaches a variety of courses such as Contracts, Business Associations, Securities Regulation, Corporate Finance, Business Fundamentals for Lawyers, and a seminar on Investment Funds. Shelby served as a Visiting Associate Professor of Law with The George Washington University Law School during the Spring 2021 semester. She is currently the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law with Northwestern Pritzker School of Law during this 2022-2023 academic year.

Her research generally encompasses regulatory issues related to hedge funds and other pooled investment vehicles. It has utilized a range of theoretical frameworks to scrutinize the blurred distinctions between public and private investment funds resulting from financial innovation and retailization. It has further examined the extent to which these seemingly antiquated distinctions have served as a mechanism to perpetuate wealth inequality, systemic risk, and other injustices. Shelby's scholarship has been cited by Forbes, The Brookings Institution, and an array of other publications. She has published articles in The California Law Review, The Business Lawyer, Boston College Law Review, Washington and Lee Law Review (co-authored with Steven Ramirez and Kristin Johnson), SMU Law Review, among other journals and periodicals. Shelby is currently under contract with Cambridge University Press for her forthcoming book project, Markets for Black Pain: Law and Marginalization as a Commodity.

In terms of honors and awards, Shelby received the DePaul College of Law Excellence in Teaching Award in May 2016 and the DePaul University Excellence in Teaching Award in September 2018. She also received the Ethan Allen Fellowship from W&L Law for scholarly excellence in June 2020.

Shelby received her B.S. in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her J.D. from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. She then practiced law in the Investment Funds, Advisers and Derivatives Group with Sidley Austin LLP for close to four years. As an associate in this group, she represented clients in regulatory and corporate matters involving hedge funds, commodity pools and derivatives trading. After leaving Sidley, Shelby completed the William H. Hastie Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin Law School, which is a competitive two-year LL.M. program designed to prepare its candidates for a career in law academia