Debra Katz is a D.C. based attorney who has been a prevalent figure of the #MeToo movement, and is making headlines as the legal representation for Christine Blasey Ford who filed a sexual misconduct claim against Brett Kavanaugh.
In a statement, Kavanaugh said of the accusation, “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Katz Is an Employment & Whistleblower Attorney Based in D.C.
According to the Katz, Marshall & Banks site, Katz is a lawyer who focuses specifically on employment discriminatino, civil rights, and whistleblower protection cases. She has been practicing for over 30 years, and is a founding partner of Katz, Marshall & Banks, LLP.
Katz went to college at Union College and graduated summa cum laude before attending the University of Wisconsin Law School.
To The Washingtonian, Katz explained why she’s always been drawn to sexual harassment cases. She said, “It hurts people in such a deep way. It causes them to question their value, it erodes their self-esteem, and it’s one of the ultimate indignities that people experience in the workplace.”
2. Katz Has Frequently Been Named on Lists Citing the Top Lawyers in D.C.
Katz has been on Washingtonian Magazine‘s list of “Top Lawyers” from 2004 to 2017, and she was listed on the magazine’s top 30 “Stars of the Bar” in 2009 and 2011.
She was recognized as the “Civil Rights Lawyer of the Year” in Washington, D.C. by the Best Lawyers in America in 2018.
3. Katz Represents Christine Blasey Ford, Who Has Filed a Sexual Misconduct Claim Against Brett Kavanaugh
Katz is representing Christine Blasey Ford, who came out yesterday officially as the woman who has accused Kavanaugh of what she and Ford have classified as “attempted rape.”
The claim, which was initially revealed in a letter to the woman’s congresswoman, Anna Eshoo (D-CA), was eventually filed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein with the FBI. In a subsequent statement, an F.B.I spokesperson said, “Upon receipt of the information on the night of September 12, we included it as part of Judge Kavanaugh’s background file, as per the standard process.”
Katz has since defended her client’s decision to stay quiet about the accusation for so long; Ford only came out about her story in 2012 to a couples therapist with her husband.
Katz said, “She did not [tell anyone at the time]. And like many trauma victims, they try to put it away and go forward with their lives. And really, they try in their own heads to minimize it…that’s the context in which this came up, in couples therapy, where she disclosed this very traumatic event which she tried for decades to minimize it.”
4. Katz Has Been Described as ‘Washington’s Top Attorney For Women Who Want to Fight Back’
The Washingtonian released a profile of Katz in June, describing her as D.C.’s leading #MeToo lawyer. Luke Mullins of The Washingtonian wrote, “In addition to her work in headline-grabbing cases, Katz specializes in a kind of sexual-harassment case that’s very different from those propelling #MeToo: ones that most of us will never even hear about because they’re settled privately. Often, Katz says, such quiet negotiations are what’s best for clients, who can then move on with their careers.”
Katz said of her work with the #MeToo movement, “Women are feeling emboldened to come forward because they have a sense that people will actually now believe them. [And women] who do come forward tend to find more people who are willing to support them.”
5. Katz’s Biggest #MeToo Involvements Include Those Related to Michael Steinhardt & Eric Schneiderman
Among other cases, Katz was involved in the accusations against Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who was accused of physical abuse by several women before he resigned last year, and philanthropist Michael Steinhardt, who was the subject of several accusations of inappropriate language in the context of Hillel International: the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.
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