Professor of Law Emerita
B.A., summa cum laude, History, 1974, Ohio State University; M.A., Social Sciences, 1982, University of Chicago; J.D., magna cum laude, 1986, Harvard University; Phi Beta Kappa; Member, California State Bar
In her role as a law professor, Katherine Sheehan is particularly interested in heightening students' awareness of issues concerning gender, race and economics. She wants her students "to be able to distinguish 'law' from 'justice' in the hope that they will not only become better lawyers, but also take responsibility for what their legal skills enable them to do." A member of the Southwestern faculty since 1993, Professor Sheehan was honored with the law school's Excellence in Teaching Award in 2002, and was named as the Irwin R. Buchalter Professor of Law in 2003. She finds "the learning curve in law school is very steep, particularly in civil procedure. It is fascinating to watch students go from 'zero knowledge' to very sophisticated thinking in just one semester."
"The learning curve in law school is very steep, particularly in civil procedure. It is fascinating to watch students go from 'zero knowledge' to very sophisticated thinking in just one semester."
While a law student herself, Professor Sheehan served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review, a Legal Methods instructor, and case writer for the Program on the Legal Profession. After law school, she served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Mariana R. Pfaelzer of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Professor Sheehan went on to practice law for six years with the firm of Tuttle & Taylor where her areas of focus included environmental, mass tort and general business litigation, and appellate practice. She also chaired the firm's Appellate Practice Group and was a member of the executive committee.
Since her days as vice president of the Harvard Voluntary Defenders, Professor Sheehan has been active in pro bono and community efforts. While in practice, she handled several immigration cases at the appellate level on a pro bono basis.