The Catholic University of America



A Full and Fulfilling Plate:
General Counsel for the Archdiocese of Washington


It is one of the most varied legal practices imaginable. One day, you may be negotiating arrangements for the annual Right-to-Life Rally at the Verizon Center, the next day drawing up papers for the establishment of a new food bank, and on the third day vetting the Congressional testimony of high-ranking church officials.
These tasks, and many, many others, all fall within the job description of the general counsel of the Archdiocese of Washington, a position now held by Cynthia DeSimone, Columbus School of Law Class of 2003.
DeSimone returned as a guest lecturer on March 16, invited by Professor George Garvey to address his Social Justice and the Law class. She used her time to describe the wide scope of her job, which is expected, among other responsibilities, to cover the legal needs of 140 Catholic schools within the Archdiocese. School operations account for a good deal of what DeSimone’s office does.
The attorneys within the general counsel’s office also provide a great deal of support to Catholic Charities, which serves 100,000 people through 77 programs locally.
“We strive to put all of our social teachings into practice on a daily basis,” said DeSimone, who called her busy practice “very fulfilling.”
She urged students to consider legal practice on behalf of the Archdiocese as a way to employ a wide variety of legal skills in service of a greater cause.
“Pursue what you’re inspired by,” she advised. “This is a really good way to put your legal skills into action.”