Katharine Louras L’15
Katie currently works as Staff Attorney in the Family Defense practice at The Center for Family Representation (CFR) in Manhattan, NY. There she defends indigent parents against allegations of neglect and abuse filed by New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services, as well as against subsequent Termination of Parental Rights proceedings. Though her work consists primarily of litigating cases to keep families together or reunite them, she also works on some broader policy initiatives with a look towards system change. Katie hopes to further explore this avenue within the field.
Her experience working in multiple cities positions her well to compare and contrast systems across jurisdictions. Katie had the honor to attend the 2017 Family Defense Leadership Workshop at the University of Michigan, connecting her with a small group of emerging leaders in the field from across the country, and further impassioning her longer-term goals of system-change work. Prior to working at CFR, Katie did similar work in Boston at the Committee for Public Counsel Services, in their Children and Family Law Division. There she defended families against the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, and had the opportunity to represent both parents and children in these state-intervention cases.
Before law school, Katie earned her B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from Emory University in 2008. After graduating, she joined the 2008 Teach for America Corps in New York City. She completed her two-year commitment to Teach For America teaching elementary school in the Bronx, New York, and continued to teach in the Bronx for two additional years. While teaching, she also earned an M.S. in Teaching with a focus in Childhood Education from Pace University in 2010. She credits Teach For America for instilling her with a lifelong commitment to social justice work.
Katie came to Penn Law excited about pursuing a career fighting for underserved families. This commitment was reinforced by her summer internships, spent at The Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Practice, in the Bronx trial office, and The Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Practice, Special Litigation and Law Reform Unit in Manhattan. She further explored these interests during the academic year through pro bono work, clinical courses, and externships. During her first year at Penn Law, Katie joined the Custody and Support Assistance Clinic (CASAC) as a student advocate for pro se litigants in Philadelphia Domestic Relations Court. She continued her pro bono work with CASAC through all three years, progressing from an advocate, to supervising other student advocates, to a management role on the clinic board. Katie highly valued the continuous client contact that CASAC permitted her throughout the academic year. Her 2L spring semester, the first she was eligible, Katie joined the Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic headed by Professor Kara Finck. She continued to work in the Clinic for the remainder of her time at Penn as an Advanced Clinic student. Additionally, during her 3L spring, she arranged and engaged in an externship with the Defenders Association of Philadelphia in their Child Advocacy Unit. Katie graduated magna cum laude, as well as achieving other honors during her time at Penn. Katie was a Senior Editor on the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. She also received several graduation awards including the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Eric D. Turner Award (for excellence in family law), the Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Clinical Student Award, and a Penn Law Award for Exemplary Pro Bono Service.