The Catholic University of America


Alumni Return to Extol Virtues of Public Interest Law Careers


Four Catholic University law school alumnae from a wide range of class years returned on Nov. 2 to urge today’s students to consider public interest law as a career path.
The discussion was organized by CUA’s Students for Public Interest Law (SPIL) and was moderated by Jen Tschirch, pro bono coordinator for the Columbus School of Law. SPIL President Whitney Dachelet provided the introductory remarks.
Panelists included Lisa Damiano, 2005, trial attorney, Office of Immigration Litigation, Appellate Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division; Kathryn Doan, 1991, executive director, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition; and Laila E. Leigh, 2010, staff attorney, Family Law/Domestic Unit of the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau. They were joined by fellow alumna Niki McCormally, staff attorney, Office of the Attorney General of Maryland and co-founder of CUA's Legal Services Society.

Panelists discussed the advantages of a career in public interest law, not the least of which is the satisfaction that comes from helping others. Kathryn Doan of the CAIR Coalition also noted that in the nation’s capital at least, public interest law also commands respect.  
“D.C. has a unique pro bono culture,” said Doan. “[Employers] use it as a tool to get the best and the brightest.”
The CAIR Coalition is among the many providers of pro bono and public interest legal services in the Washington area that rely on Columbus School of Law students do pro bono work for them.