Randy and his wife, Mollie, have two sons. Randy III is a liver transplant surgeon, and Josh is a criminal defense lawyer.
Randy graduated from St. John’s School in Houston in 1967. He attended the University of Pennsylvania from 1967 to 1969 and received a BA with high honors from the University of Texas in 1970, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He received a JD with honors from the University of Texas School of Law in 1973, where he was a member of the Chancellors (top eight students in his graduating class) and Order of the Coif (top ten per cent of law school graduates in the nation).
Randy is licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court; the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits; the United States District Court for the Southern, Northern, Eastern, and Western District of Texas; and the Texas state courts.
Randy is a member of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers (ABCL), National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL),
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Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA), Harris County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (HCCLA), American Bar Association (ABA), and Houston Bar Association (HBA). The ABCL is a national legal honorary society for outstanding criminal defense trial lawyers, with admission by invitation only; only seven criminal defense lawyers in Texas are currently members.
Randy was recognized as one of the top seven criminal defense lawyers in Houston by Houston City Magazine in 1978 and one of the top ten by Inside Houston Magazine in 2003. He was recognized as the outstanding criminal defense lawyer with less than ten years of experience in a poll of the Harris County Criminal District Judges and Chief Felony Prosecutors in a 1980 Houston Chronicle article. He was recognized as the Outstanding Criminal Defense Lawyer of 1989 by the State Bar of Texas. He received the President’s Award of Merit from the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association in 1989, the President’s Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in 1993, the Texas Justice Alliance Award in 2003, all related to his representation of Randall Dale Adams, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association in 2019. He was selected by his peers to be included in the publication, The Best Lawyers in America, and as one of Texas Super Lawyers in Texas Monthly Magazine. He is AV-rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory.
PUBLICATIONS AND SPEECHES
Randy has written articles that were published in the Champion (NACDL), Voice For The Defense (TCDLA), and the Texas Bar Journal. He has written numerous papers for and spoken at seminars sponsored by the State Bar of Texas, NACDL, TCDLA, HCCLA, and the Criminal Defense Lawyers Project.
Randy represented Randall Dale Adams, whose case was featured in the movie, The Thin Blue Line and the book, Adams v. Texas; Kevin Byrd, whose case was featured in the book, Actual Innocence, and Russell Furth, whose case was featured in the book, The Great White Lie. Randy has been the subject of profiles in Texas Lawyer, Houston City Magazine, the Houston Chronicle, and the Houston Post. His cases have been featured in People, Time, Newsweek, New Yorker, American Bar Association Journal, Texas Monthly, and D Magazine. He has been a guest on Nightline, Frontline, Crossfire, Larry King, Geraldo Rivera, Phil Donahue, Paula Zahn, Today, A Current Affair, P.M. Magazine, Burden of Proof, and Straight Talk.
CONTRIBUTION TO LEGAL EDUCATION
Randy endowed the Randy Schaffer Presidential Scholarship in Criminal Defense Practice at the University of Texas School of Law in 2001. This scholarship pays the tuition of law students who aspire to be criminal defense lawyers.
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