Sadr majored in law and holds a Master's Degree in international law from Tehran University (1999).
Sadr is an expert on women's legal rights in Iran. She was director of Raahi, a now-closed legal advice center for women, and founded the website Women in Iran to showcase women's rights efforts in Iran.
As a practicing lawyer, she has successfully defended several women activists and journalists in court, who had been sentenced to execution.
She is one of the Iranians who have campaigned to eradicate the practice of capital punishment by stoning, particularly of women, in a campaign known as End Stoning Forever. This campaign is one of several launched by Women's Field, a women's rights group of which Sadr is a member.
Sadr is the defense lawyer of Shiva Nazar Ahari, a human rights defender and member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, who was arrested on 14 June 2009 and is believed to have been held incommunicado since then in Evin Prison.
Shadi Sadr was one of 33 women arrested in March 2007 after gathering outside a Tehran courtroom to protest peacefully against the trial of five women accused of “propaganda against the system”, “acting against national security” and “participating in an illegal demonstration” in connection with a 12 June 2006 demonstration in support of women's rights. Sadr was held for fifteen days before being freed on bail together with Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh.
On 17 July 2009, Shadi Sadr was beaten by plainclothes militiamen and taken away as she headed toward Tehran University for the Friday Prayers led by Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. She was walking on Keshavarz Boulevard with several other female activists when individuals in civilian dress approached and refused to identify themselves or justify their actions before forcing her into a waiting car. After she had briefly escaped, her companions were restrained as she was beaten and forced back into the car. It then took her to an unknown location. She later called her husband, according to some reports to ask for a cellphone password. . She was released 11 days later on July 28, 2009.
Awards and honors
- Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism, 2004 from Women's eNews in their annual 21 Leaders for the 21st century awards,
2009 - she received 50 000 euro, as a special prize founded by Lech Walesa, legendary leader of polish "Solidarity" and laureate of Nobel Peace Prize in 1983
- Carline Bennett (2003-12-23). "Seven Who Create New Pathways for Success". Woman's E-News. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
-  Huffington Post Profile
-  Santa Clara Law School Human Rights Award
- Julie Taboh (2009-07-02). "Film Spotlights True Story of Iranian Woman's Stoning". Voice of America. Retrieved 2009-07-17.[dead link]
- "Women's rights activist and lawyer violently arrested in Iran, says Amnesty International". Amnesty International. 2009-07-17. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Soheila Vahdati & Sanam Dolatshahi (2007-03-08). "Campaign to Free Women's Rights Defenders in Iran press release: Three Women's Rights Defenders Remain in Detention". Payvand's Iran News. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- "Authorities free two feminist journalists but close their NGOs". Reporters without Borders. 2007-03-23. Retrieved 2007-11-29.
- McCann, Cathy (2007-03-27). "Prominent women writers and journalists Shadi Sadr, Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh and Jila Baniyaghoub released on bail". Article Archive. International PEN. Retrieved 2007-11-29.[dead link]
- Meris Lutz (2009-07-17). "IRAN: Human rights lawyer Shadi Sadr reportedly arrested". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Jim Sciutto (2009-07-17). "Former President of Iran Demands Release of Political Prisoners". ABC World News. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- "Shadi Sadr violently abducted without headscarf". Women's Field. 2009-07-17. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Agence France-Presse (2009-07-17). "Iranian lawyer arrested in Tehran, says husband". WashingtonTV. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- "شادی صدر آزاد شد(Shadi Sadr is released)" (in Persian). BBC. 2009-07-28. Retrieved 2009-07-28.