Lois Shepherd

  • Peter A. Wallenborn, Jr. and Dolly F. Wallenborn Professor of Biomedical Ethics, University of Virginia
  • Professor of Public Health Sciences
  • Professor of Law

Lois Shepherd is an expert in the fields of health law and bioethics. Her primary appointment is in the medical school’s Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities where she directs the center’s programs in medicine and law. She teaches courses in health care law and ethics at both the law school and the medical school.

After receiving her law degree from Yale University, where she served as a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal, Shepherd practiced corporate law for six years with the Charlotte, N.C., firm of Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A. She began her academic career in 1993 at the Florida State University College of Law. Prior to joining the UVA faculty, Shepherd was the Florida Bar Health Law Section Professor and D’Alemberte Professor of Law at Florida State.

Within the field of bioethics and law, Shepherd’s current scholarly and teaching interests are focused on legal and ethical issues at the end of life and in human subject research.


  • J.D.
    Yale Law School
  • B.A.
    University of North Carolina


Books and White Papers

Rationing Health Care at the End of Life (White Paper, Miller Center of Public Affairs, 2010).

If That Ever Happens to Me: Making Life and Death Decisions After Terri Schiavo (UNC Press, forthcoming 2009).

Bioethics and the Law (with Janet L. Dolgin), Aspen Publishers, Inc., 2005.

Teachers’ Manual, Bioethics and the Law, Aspen Publishers, Inc., 2005.

Law Review Articles

“SUPPORT and Comparative Effectiveness Trials: What’s at Stake?,” Hastings Center Rep., Jan./Feb. 2015, at 44.

“Welcome, Healing, and Ethics” (with Margaret Moorman), 50 Wake Forest L. Rev. 259 (2015).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“What Is Reasonably Foreseeable? Lessons Learned from the SUPPORT Trial” (with Daniel M. Trifiletti & Timothy N. Showalter), 92 Int’l J. Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics 718 (2015). 

“"Organ Procurement Now: Ethical Shortcomings in America's Blended System" (with Leili Monfared)

“The End of End-of-Life Law,” 92 N.C. L. Rev. 1693 (2014).

“The Hair Stylist, the Corn Merchant, and the Doctor: Ambiguously Altrustic,” 42 J.L. Med. & Ethics 509 (2014).

The HPV Vaccine and Parental Consent” (with Donna T. Chen & Daniel M. Becker), 14 Virtual Mentor 5 (2012).

“In Plain Sight: A Solution to a Fundamental Challenge in Human Research” (with Margaret Foster Riley), 40 J.L. Med. & Ethics 970 (2012).

“Ready to Listen: Why Welcome Matters” (with Margaret E. Mohrmann), 43 J. Pain & Symptom Mgmt. 646 (2012).

"Different Ways to Understand Patient-Centered Health Law," 45 Wake Forest L. Rev. 1469 (2010).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"Patient-Centered Health Law and Ethics," (with Mark A. Hall), 45 Wake Forest L. Rev. 1427 (2010).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"Asking Too Much: Autonomy and Responsibility at the End of Life," 26 J. Contemp. Health L. Pol. 72 (2009).

“Heroes, Lawyers, and Writers: A Review of Two Schiavo Books,” 31 Nova L. Rev. 316 (2007) (invited book review).

“Rethinking Health Law: Introduction,” 41 Wake Forest Law Review 341 (2006) (with Mark A. Hall and Carl E. Schneider) (symposium introduction).

“Rethinking Health Law: Assuming Responsibility,” 41 Wake Forest Law Review 446 (symposium issue) (2006), reprinted in ICGAI Journal of Healthcare Law (May 2006 issue).

“Terri Schiavo and the Disability Rights Community,” 2006 Chicago Legal Forum 253 (symposium issue) (2006).

“State Legislative Proposals Following Schiavo: What Are They Thinking?” 15 Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review 361 (symposium issue) (2006).

“Terri Schiavo: Unsettling the Settled,” 37 Loyola U. Chicago L. J. 297 (2006) (symposium issue).

“In Respect of People Living in a Permanent Vegetative State—And Allowing Them to Die,” 16 Health Matrix 631 (2006).

“Shattering the Neutral Surrogate Myth in End-of-Life Decisionmaking: Terri Schiavo and Her Family,” 35 Cumberland L. Rev. 575 (2005) (symposium issue) (listed on the top ten downloaded articles from SSRN Disability Law).

“Face to Face: A Call for Radical Responsibility in Place of Compassion,” 77 St. John’s L. Rev. 445 (2003).

“Genes and Disability: Questions at the Crossroads,” 30 Florida St. U. L. Rev. xi (2003) (with Mary Crossley).

“Looking Forward with the Right of Privacy,” 49 Kansas L. Rev. 251 (2001).

“HIV, the ADA, and the Duty to Treat,” 37 Houston L. Rev. 1055 (2000) (symposium issue).

“Dignity and Autonomy after Washington v. Glucksberg: An Essay About Abortion, Death, and Crime,” 7 Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy 431 (1998).

“Sophie’s Choices: Medical and Legal Responses to Suffering,” 72 Notre Dame L. Rev. 103-156 (1996), excerpted in William J. Curran, et al., Health Care Law and Ethics, 5th ed., 1997 (casebook).

“Protecting Parents’ Freedom to Have Children with Genetic Differences,” 1995 U. Ill. L. Rev. 727-812 (1995).

Other Scholarly Publications

"Aging Populations and Public Health Ethics," in Anna Mastroianni et. al. eds., The Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics (Oxford Handbooks Online, 2019).

“Changing the Rules on Withdrawing Nutrition and Hydration: From “Terri’s Law” to the ‘Starvation and Dehydration’ Bill,” Florida Bar Public Interest Law Section Reporter, April 2004, at 1.

“Prenatal Genetic Testing and Narrative,” with Aline Kalbian, American Journal of Bioethics 3(4):W15-W21 (2003), available at www.ajobonline.com.

“Stenberg v. Carhart: Supreme Court Invalidates Nebraska’s “Partial Birth” Abortion Law,” Health Law News, Sept. 2000, at 8.

“A Right to Palliative Care? What the U.S. Supreme Court Did and Did Not Say in the Physician-Assisted Suicide Cases,” 16 J. Pall. Care 48 (2000).

“Abortion Cases: Court Upholds Both Fixed Buffer Zones and Parental Notification,” Health Law News, Sept. 1997, at 6.

Chapter, “Organ Procurement and Transplantation” in Healthcare Facilities Law; Critical Issues for Hospitals, HMOs, and Extended Care Facilities, Anne Dellinger, ed., Little, Brown and Company, 1991, with supplements for 1992, 1993 and 1995.

“The Risk of Transfusion-Associated AIDS: Offering Patients an Active Role in their Care,” American Journal of Medical Quality, Vol. 7, No. 4 (Winter 1992).

Related Publications

“Legislation Goes Beyond Terri Shiavo,” Tallahassee Democrat, Mar. 16, 2005 (commenting on proposed legislation in Florida).

“Gov. Bush: Health Care Surrogate,” Tallahassee Democrat, Oct. 26, 2003 (commenting on the Terri Schiavo case).


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