Associate Professor of Law, Syracuse University
Professor Katherine Macfarlane is a leading expert on civil procedure, civil rights litigation, and disability law. She teaches torts and civil rights litigation and serves as Director of the College of Law’s Disability Law and Policy Program.
During the 2022-2023 academic year, Professor Macfarlane served as Special Counsel to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. There, she worked on the Department’s overhaul of the regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, focusing on the regulations’ higher education provisions.
Prior to joining the College of Law faculty, Professor Macfarlane served as an associate professor at Southern University Law Center and the University of Idaho College of Law. From 2013 to 2015, she served as a teaching fellow at the Louisiana State University Hebert Law Center. Prior to joining academia, Professor Macfarlane was an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the New York City Law Department serving as lead counsel in federal civil rights actions. As an associate in Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan’s Los Angeles and New York offices, she represented plaintiffs in securities litigation. She clerked for the District of Arizona and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Professor Macfarlane’s scholarship has appeared in or will appear in the North Carolina Law Review, Fordham Law Review, Alabama Law Review, Yale Law Journal Forum, Columbia Law Review Forum, American University Law Review, Tulane Law Review, and the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, among others. She is also a frequent contributor to the Petrie-Flom Center at Harvard Law School Bill of Health Blog, writing about health care and disability accommodations. Her civil procedure scholarship has focused on federal courts’ local rules and practices. From 2016 to 2019, Professor Macfarlane was a member of the District of Idaho’s Local Rules Advisory Committee and led a review of the rules’ compliance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 83. The Southern District of New York adopted Professor Macfarlane’s recommendations regarding its related cases rules.
Professor Macfarlane has previously served as chair of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Section on Disability Law, and co-founded an AALS affinity group for disabled law professors and allies. She frequently presents and writes about students, lawyers, and professors with disabilities, and the challenges they face in obtaining reasonable accommodations. Professor Macfarlane is also involved in disability and patient rights advocacy, and in that capacity, has testified before the Louisiana Legislature and addressed the Congressional Arthritis Caucus in Washington, D.C. She is frequently quoted by media outlets reporting on civil rights litigation and disability, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Nation, NPR, and Bloomberg News.
Professor Macfarlane received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Northwestern University, and her J.D., cum laude, from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, where she served as Chief Articles Editor of the Loyola Law Review and is admitted to practice in California and New York. She spent her childhood in Rome, Italy, and is fluent in Italian and Spanish.