Katharyn I. Christian McGee serves as Duane Morris' Pro Bono Counsel and leads the firmwide Pro Bono Program, through which the Firm provides over 39,000 pro bono hours annually in over 1,200 matters.
Ms. McGee develops and stewards relationships with legal service, nonprofit, and charitable organizations to cultivate and source pro bono work, in addition to developing pro bono collaborations with the Firm’s billable clients. Ms. McGee also works to enhance involvement by firm personnel and trains and supervises attorneys in a range of pro bono matters.
In addition to leading the firm's Pro Bono Program, Ms. McGee maintains a substantive practice focused on aiding survivors of violence/torture in immigration, military/veterans benefits, anti-trafficking, family law, and reproductive health matters. Ms. McGee also serves as a liaison to the firm's Diversity & Inclusion committee.
Since joining Duane Morris in 2012, Ms. McGee has collaborated with legal aids to implement pro bono initiatives addressing various justice gaps, including increasing legal representation to immigrant survivors of intimate partner violence, medical-legal pro bono partnerships between the Firm and VA Medical Centers as well as a prominent New York health system, and aiding anti-trafficking survivors in vacating criminal convictions.
Ms. McGee has worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, among other pro bono legal services organizations. She has received numerous honors for her public interest work.
Ms. McGee is an honors graduate of the University of Alabama Law School with a Certificate in Public Interest Law, where she was editor-in-chief of The Journal of the Legal Profession. She also is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Areas of Practice
- Poverty Law
- Domestic Violence/Child Advocacy
- Health Law
Part of a legal team that represented coalition of doctors, medical administrators and professionals as amici before the U.S. Supreme Court in June Medical Services v. Russo regarding physician admitting privileges.
- Represented Juvenile Law Center, Support Center for Child Advocate, KidsVoice, Philadelphia Department of Human Services, and other medical professionals and toxicologists amici curaie before Pennsylvania Supreme Court in In the Interest of: L.J.B., a Minor, Appeal of; A.A.R., Natural Mother, arguing prenatal substance exposure should not be defined as child abuse under Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law as doing so is unnecessary to protect children, and ultimately, would harm children by contravening prevailing standards of care for treatment of prenatal substance exposure and imposing lasting limitations on children and children's families.
- Obtained U.S. Citizenship for various eligible lawful permanent residents residing in the United States.
- Part of a legal team that represented coalition of doctors, medical administrators and professionals as amici before the U.S. Supreme Court in Whole Woman's Health v. Cole regarding physician admitting privileges.
- Part of a legal team that represented American College of Pathologists, Funeral Consumers Alliance, and experts in pathology and healthcare administration as amici before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt regarding proper disposition of pathological waste under universal standards of care .
- Represented U.S. veterans in disability benefits claims and appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, Board of Veterans Appeals, and VA Regional Offices.
- Obtained lawful permanent residency in the United States for domestic violence survivors originally from Malawi and Trinidad & Tobago and other countries under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
- Represented numerous children in custody and abuse/neglect foster care matters to obtain permanency in safe homes.
- Regularly represents individuals in obtaining guardianship on behalf of disabled family members as well as obtaining social security benefits.
- The University of Alabama School of Law, J.D. and Public Interest Certificate, cum laude, 2008
- Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of the Legal Profession
- Vanderbilt University, B.A., magna cum laude, 2005
- Phi Beta Kappa
- High Honors in Women's Studies
Duane Morris LLP
- Pro Bono Counsel, 2018-present
- Associate Pro Bono Counsel, 2015-2018
- Pro Bono Manager, 2012-2015
- National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
- Pro Bono Coordinator, 2010-2011
- Hunton & Williams LLP
- Associate Pro Bono Fellow, 2008-2010
- University of Alabama School of Law
- Clinical Law Program Fellow, 2007-2008
- The Southern Poverty Law Center
- Legal Intern, 2007
- Legal Services of North Florida
- Florida Bar Foundation Summary Fellow, 2006
- Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Upper Cumberlands
- Court Advocate, 2004-2005
- New Jersey
- U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Association of Pro Bono Counsel
- Co-Chair, Reproductive Rights Taskforce
Philadelphia Bar Association
- Chair, Public Interest Section, 2018
- Vice Chair, Public Interest Section, 2017
- Secretary, Public Interest Section, 2016
-- Executive Committee At-Large Member, 2015
-- Law Firm Pro Bono Committee
-- Women's Rights Committee
Honors and Awards
- United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, Next Generation Leader Award, 2020
- Named a "Lawyer on the Fast Track" in The Legal Intelligencer’s Professional Excellence Awards 2020
- District of Columbia Capital Pro Bono High Honor Roll, 2012-present
- First Judicial District of Philadelphia Pro Bono Roll of Honor, 2013-present
- Hunton & Williams E. Randolph Williams Award, 2008-2010
- National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Student Award, 2008
- University of Alabama School of Law Dean's Community Service Award, 2008
- Vanderbilt University Magnolia Award Muliebrity Prize, 2005
- Recognized for promoting gender equity within the Vanderbilt University and Nashville communities.
- Alpha Delta Pi, Inc. Dorothy Shaw Leadership Award, 2005
- Highest national honor given to a collegiate sister.
Civic and Charitable Activities
Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program, Philadelphia, PA
- Board Member, 2018 - Present
- Lutheran Settlement House, Philadelphia, PA
- Vice Chair, 2019-Present
- Board Member, 2016-Present
- Board Observer, Philadelphia Bar Association and Philadelphia Bar Foundation Board Observer Program, 2015
- The Church Foundation, Norristown, PA
- Board Member, 2019-Present
- St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, PA
- Member, Adult Education Committee
- Member, Social Justice Team
- Volunteer, St. Peter's Food Cupboard
Quoted, "Naturalization Efforts Expand In Philadelphia,"CBS Philly, March 16, 2018
- Profiled for "Pro Bono Happy Hour," Pro Bono Institute, September 28, 2017
- Inside Philadelphia's Immigration IMPACT Program, Law360, July 2, 2014
- Putting Legal Doctrines to the Test: The Inclusion of Attorneys as Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse, 32 J. Legal Prof. 215, 2008
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Frequently speaks on ethics of pro bono representation
- Speaker, "Women Who Lead in Law," COLOR Magazine Webinar, March 29, 2021
- Panelist, “Three Faces of Pro Bono,” ABA National Aging and Law Conference, November 1, 2019
- Speaker, “Getting to Yes,” Association of Pro Bono Academy, September 25, 2019
- Panelist, “Marketing to Right the Pro Bono Ship: Strategies for Attorney Engagement,” Pro Bono Institute, February 21, 2018
Speaker, "Pro Bono 911: Immigration Emergencies and Pro Bono Lawyering in 2018," Duane Morris Annual Alumni CLE, Philadelphia, October 25, 2018
"Making Headway on the Right to Counsel," Duane Morris Alumni CLE, October 26, 2017
- Panelist, "Clearing Records for Human Trafficking Survivors," Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Drinker Biddle, June 20, 2017
- Panelist, "Collaborating to Clear Records for Survivors of Commercial Sexual Exploitation in California," The American Bar Association and Duane Morris, May 16 and 18, 2017
- Panelist, "Collaborative Clinics: Transformative Partnerships to Promote Access to Expungement Services," May 6, 2017
- Speaker, "Uniting to Serve: Ethics of Pro Bono Service with In-House Counsel," March 29, 2017
- Moderator, "Judicial Intervention: A Second Chance for Survivors of Sex Trafficking," National Council of Jewish Women New York and We Were Slaves: The Jewish Community Unites Against Sex Trafficking, October 19, 2016
- Speaker, "Pro Bono for Newbies," Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCo) Academy, September 27, 2016
- Panelist, "Discharge Upgrades," National Conference on Law Clinics Serving Veterans, November 3, 2015
- Panelist, "Coordination to Fight the Good Fight, Working Together," National Conference on Law Clinics Serving Veterans, November 3, 2015
- Speaker, "Ethics of Pro Bono and Board Services," Duane Morris LLP, October 23, 2015
- Speaker, "Ethics Potpourri August 2015 - The Ethics of Pro Bono ... Doing Good the Right Way," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, August 27, 2015