Catherine Sevcenko

Of Counsel


Catherine graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in History and received her M.A.L.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. After serving 11 years in the Foreign Service, she attended George Mason School of Law at night, graduating magna cum laude. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Danny J. Boggs on the Sixth Circuit, was a Supreme Court Fellow, and then joined the Washington DC firm of Steptoe & Johnson, LLP. She has also worked at the US Trustees Program at the Department of Justice and, most recently, as the Director of Litigation at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), defending First Amendment rights on college campuses.

Her work has been published in numerous outlets, including Reason, TheHuffington Post, St. Louis Post-DispatchColumbia Post and Courier, My SADaily Journal. In spring of 2016, she testified before the oversight committee of the House Ways and Means Committee on the problem of universities misinterpreting IRS regulations to censor student political speech.

Throughout her career, Catherine has tried to amplify marginalized voices. She has pursued this goal in varied settings, including organizing the first free and open academic competition for Fulbright grants after the collapse of the Soviet Union, fighting for the rights of victims of mortgage foreclosure scams, and filing lawsuits against public universities for punishing students and faculty for expressing their ideas. As Legal Director at Equal Justice Under Law, she is committed to fighting to make sure that everyone in the criminal justice system has the right to be heard — not just those who have enough money to ensure the system works for them.

Catherine is married with two grown children and raises African Pied Crows in her spare time.


If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want to have with you and why?

Assuming that my husband and children are not "items" that can be transported with me, I would take: 

1.  Laptop computer with wifi to keep informed about world events, stay in touch with family and friends, and blog about my corvids (crows and jays); 2. Said crows and jays because they are fun, smart, full of personality, and keep me on my toes. That way I will never be bored on my island. 3. A quilt made out of t-shirts from significant periods in my family's history (e.g. a t-shirt commemorating a show by my son's high school marching band; t-shirts with the logos of my opera-singer daughter's first semi-professional choral group, a few of my previous employers, universities we have attended, etc.). It brings up fond memories and keeps me warm and comfy.