In many ways, Albany Law School Professor Mary A. Lynch has followed in the footsteps of her mentor, the late Professor Katheryn D. Katz.
Over three decades ago, Professor Katz began teaching the nation’s first law school course on domestic violence—a seminar that would later be entrusted to Professor Lynch. Both women were named Kate Stoneman Chair in Law and Democracy; Katz was the law school’s first Stoneman Chair, while Lynch was conferred the title in 2016.
Professor Lynch will draw from that legacy when she delivers the 3rd Annual Katheryn D. Katz ’70 Memorial Lecture on Thursday, October 12. Her talk, titled “Femicide, Intimate Partner Violence, and the Work Left to Do,” will begin at 5 p.m. in the Dean Alexander Moot Courtroom (1928 Building, Room 421), followed by a dedication of the Katz Clock and a reception.
“First, I feel tremendous responsibility to live up to Kathy’s reputation for intellectual honesty, for courage in standing against oppression and discrimination, and for broad and visionary thinking,” Professor Lynch said. “Kathy was so far ahead of her time in understanding how law could be used to maintain or dismantle unjust structures and systems or educate about existing biased beliefs. I am so grateful to the Katz family for supporting the annual lecture and honoring their mother.”
The Katheryn D. Katz ’70 Lecture Series was established to focus on the family law topics that Professor Katz made central to her teaching, including domestic violence, gender and the law, children and the law, reproductive rights, and inequality. The first two Katz lectures were delivered by Professors Melissa Breger (2015) and Donna Young (2016).
“Fortunately, I also feel Kathy’s spirit with me as I try to articulate my place in the arc of feminist thinking on the subject of intimate partner violence,” Professor Lynch said. “She has always been my mentor in the academy and continues to mentor me through her writings and her teaching legacy. These are places from which I can continue to find succor.”
Professor Lynch is a nationally recognized expert on issues related to violence against women and legal education. As director of Albany Law School's Domestic Violence Prosecution Hybrid Clinic, she supervises students working in Special Victims Units and domestic violence courts throughout the Capital Region. Earlier this year she co-authored the op-ed "Keep women's safety at forefront" in the Albany Times Union.
She hopes that her audience will leave the Katz Lecture with a better understanding of intimate partner violence—the threats faced by women in particular—leading to an open dialogue moving forward.
“I have been working in the field of intimate partner violence ever since the late 1990s when Kathy invited me to take over her Domestic Violence Seminar course—the first Domestic Violence Law course taught in an American law school,” Professor Lynch said. “Yet, recently the risk and danger for women in their intimate lives is on the rise rather than on the decline. And the current contrast between fatal danger for males and females is so stark that it shocks my students each semester. I would hope that law students, my colleagues, local lawyers, prosecutors, judges, policy makers and compassionate community members truly absorb those disturbing statistics and trends so that we can work together to rethink our current approach. My hope is that together we can find new ways to prioritize victim safety through more deliberate, better resourced legal responses to intimate partner violence.”
Prior to joining the Albany Law faculty in 1989, Professor Lynch worked as an appellate and trial attorney in the New York County District Attorney's office. In 1996, while serving as director of the school's Domestic Violence Law Project, Professor Lynch and seven Albany Law students won clemency for a woman who was incarcerated for killing her abuser.
She is a graduate of New York University and Harvard Law School.