Law Man:

My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases, and Finding Redemption

Law Man – PDF Version

Law Man – Softcover Book

Law Man is an improbable-but-true memoir of redemption — the story of a young bank robber who became the greatest jailhouse lawyer in American history, and who changed not just his own life, but the lives of everyone around him.

Shon Hopwood was a good kid from a good Nebraskan family, a small-town basketball star whose parents had started a local church. Few who knew him as a friendly teen would have imagined that, shortly after returning home from the Navy, he’d be adrift with few prospects and plotting to rob a bank.  But rob he did, committing five heists before being apprehended.

Only twenty three and potentially facing twelve years in Illinois’ Pekin Federal Prison, Shon feared his life was already over. He’d shamed himself and his loving family and friends, and a part of him wanted to die.  He wasn’t sure at first if he’d survive the prison gangs, but slowly glimmers of hope appeared.  He earned some respect on the prison basketball court, received a steady flow of letters from hometown well wishers, including a note from a special girl whom he’d thought too beautiful to ever pay him notice – and, most crucially, he secured a job in the prison law library.

It was an assignment that would prove his salvation.

Poring over the library’s thick legal volumes, Shon discovered that he had a knack for the law, and he soon became the go-to guy for inmates seeking help. Then came a request to write a complex petition to the Supreme Court – a high-wire act of jailhouse lawyering that had never before met with success.

By the time Shon walked out of Pekin Prison he’d pulled off a series of legal miracles, earned the undying gratitude of numerous inmates, won the woman of his dreams, and built a new life for himself far greater than anything he could have imagined.

A story that mixes moments of high-adrenaline with others of deep poignancy, Law Man is a powerful reminder that even the worst mistakes can be redeemed through faith, hard work and the love and support of others.”

Praise For Law Man

This memoir is, hands down, an entirely splendid reading experience. Shon and Annie have much to disclose on the human condition–covering the topics of multiple bank robberies, a 10 yr stint in federal prison during which he discovered a passion for law and brought cases to the supreme court, death, anorexia, spiritual redemption, and rebirth into love, freedom, family, and law school. If you are human, alive, flawed, and have ever made a mistake, here’s your summer read.
And yes, there is a fair amount of Christian sentiment–to those who are not like-minded, I was not put off. This review is coming from someone who is culturally Jewish and somewhat wary of much of the born again rhetoric. This book is for everyone.


Hopwood’s book is skillfully written, tightly edited, and moves so briskly it’s hard to imagine how interminable ten years must have seemed in reality. That he survived and emerged intact is a testament not only to his own strength, but to that of his family and friends. As Anthony Hopkins said in the movie “The Edge,” “What one man can do, another man can do.” If there is one Shon Hopwood, there are others who have the same potential. Failing to identify and salvage them is a tragic, unacceptable failure of our current system of justice. Convicted felons and their families need the perspective, hope and encouragement Shon’s story offers. I will be following his progress and looking forward to knowing “the rest of the story.”

Constance M.

What a great story! Hard to beat for true “Horatio Alger” impact about a misguided and indifferent young man from the Midwest who idly proposes bank robery to his equally bored friend. Five “jobs” later the Author is sent to federal prison for 12 years at age 21. The trunaround in prison to become a “jailhouse lawyer” successfully petitioning the nation’s highset court, sharing the joy of young and unrequited love turned “requited” is nothing short of miraculous. Bank robber felon to law school. What a great and inspiring read. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in a “feel good” book. CE “Ted” Watts

Ted W

This was a very special read for me! I worked for the Federal Prison System for over 20 years, most of it as a Counselor. Shon was on my caseload. This is the most amazing thing that can happen when something like this happens for someone! Very proud of him and what he has become and is doing to help others! This is a very easy and good read! Highly suggest this!!! Extremely proud!!!!!!

T Bess

I accidentally stumbled upon this book & was so shocked to see how many parallels there were to the story of my friend who was about to be released. I decided to buy this book & gave it to my friend on the day they were released, as a celebration gift. They were so grateful & excited to start reading it that night! Their reaction was priceless & I am so glad this book blessed my friend! I’m hoping to borrow it to read after they’re done!


This is sure to be a bestseller! A heartfelt true story that sounds like it was made for the movies! It is filled with every emotion from guilt, sorrow & remorse to redemption, love and inspiration. A unique way of understanding God’s plan for all of us, listening to him when he speaks to us, and trusting in him without always knowing the outcome. A reminder about the good people in our lives who are put there for a purpose. Very thought provoking and enjoyable! I and a family member both finished the book in one setting because you just couldn’t put it down!


This is an amazing book that I highly recommend. I liked it so much I bought it for friends. It talks about the power of redemption. It is a true story and very uplifting


I just finished this book around 2am, couldn’t put it down, even switched to my phone so I wouldn’t wake my wife. As a lawyer the book is supremely interesting for the legal struggles but it’s also a great story of love and redemption.

Richard M.

Since I to grew up in David City Nebraska and even though I have been gone for many years I knew most if the parties involved. A. Remarkable man who turned his life around. I hope more people who make mistakes can find their way to a better life.

Connie G.

This is a very quick read, but it does give an accurate description of life behind bars and touches on some of the political hypocrisies of our judicial system.

Joe W.

This was a fantastic book and I couldn’t put it down! Had it been fictional it would have been a great story but the fact that this is a real-life account makes it amazing. I have always believed that people can change and Shon proves that! I am so glad for him that there are others out there who believe the same and gave him a chance to prove himself. This book kept me interested, made me cry, made me chuckle and made me think differently about our prison system. Great book!

Traci H.

This is an interesting story, not elegant writing, but solidly told. The true story of a young man who got into trouble robbing banks but reformed himself in prison by studying law and then became a lawyer.

Gay D.

Shon’s story is a remarkable chronicle of his 10 years in federal prison for bank robbery and redemption; his becoming a “jailhouse lawyer” while serving his prison sentence, and winning TWO Supreme Court cases. While in prison renewing his high school friendship with a beautiful young lady that became his inspiration and later his wife. This is a must read! Very hard to put down.

Dwayne B.

Great story from his own personal perspective. Although, I felt he consistently dropped in tidbits of his own commentary on the criminal justice system that while interesting, could have been much more refined.





B. Campbell

As a busy mom who rarely gets time to read, I was stealing moments (any I could!) to read Law Man. I could not put it down and finished it in less than 48 hours which is nothing short of a miracle and a sign of how much I loved it. It was well written and very easy to follow. The backgrounds of Shon, Ann Marie and the other characters in the book are described well enough that you feel like you really know them as you walk through their journey and struggles. I was dying to get to the next page and find out what unfolded next. It’s nothing short of unbelievable that either of them made it to the end of the book and the redemption and grace in their lives is evident and encouraging. What a beautiful story of loss, love, forgiveness and hope. I had many takeaways from this book, but most notably I walked away with these:

1) If you believe in God or not, it is evident that a bucket of grace was dumped on Shon repeatedly. It’s hard for me not to acknowledge a sovereign, good and redemptive God working behind the scenes of his life even when he did not have the sense to accept it and tried to do things on his own accord. He did a wonderful job of writing that in to the story line without making it a book just about religion or salvation. If you deny a God, you will still enjoy this book and be encouraged by their story.

2) Shon’s support system before, after and while in prison was clearly the difference between him and your average prisoner. I was encouraged to have hope for the rehabilitation of our prisoners and care about the reform of our prison system. It was very clear to me that while his crimes were not unique, the support he had outside the prison walls was and that we should all have a heart for people, even when they seem hopeless and undeserving.

The true story was incredible and the fact that was book was excellently written made it a five star read. I have recommended it to several friends as a must-read book.