Catherine Weiss Partner

New Jersey
T 973.597.2438 | F 973.597.2439



Chair, Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest
Chair, Pro Bono Committee

As chair of the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest Catherine Weiss spearheads the firm's pro bono program. A lifelong public interest lawyer, Catherine has served as the Director of the Division of Public Interest Advocacy in the New Jersey Department of the Public Advocate, as Deputy Director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, and as Director of the Reproductive Freedom Project in the national office of the ACLU.

Catherine is charged with ongoing implementation of the Center's mission to perform work of the highest quality in a manner that maximizes results for pro bono clients and causes. She chairs the firm-wide pro bono committee that shapes the pro bono practice. She is responsible for forming and maintaining relationships with leading public interest and legal services partners both nationally and in all the communities where the firm has offices. Under her leadership, the Center has built upon the firm’s historic commitment to public service to produce an award-winning program that serves hundreds of low-income individuals and the nonprofit organizations that support them. The firm has focused on and developed extensive experience in several areas of pro bono practice, including immigration, education, and housing.

Catherine also maintains a substantive practice as a litigator. She approaches matters with an appellate lawyer's eye toward constructing challenges to unjust laws or policies and winning decisions that reform the law. In addition to leading pro bono teams in impact litigation, she manages and participates in signature initiatives through which the firm represents, among others, children in immigration proceedings; victims of persecution in asylum proceedings; survivors of domestic violence seeking orders of protection and custody of their children; veterans in disability hearings; low-income individuals in bankruptcy proceedings; tenants trying to avoid eviction; low-income entrepreneurs who need business advice; low-income inventors who need assistance with patent applications; adults seeking to become legal guardians to children in their care; and nonprofit organizations seeking counsel and assistance in corporate and governance matters.

Representative Engagements

Represented twenty-five church-state scholars in an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court arguing that the Establishment Clause prevents religious nonprofits, colleges, and universities, as well as closely held for-profit companies, from shifting the burden of their religious objections to contraceptive coverage to their employees and students by declining to file paperwork they view as making them complicit in the provision of such coverage by other entities.
Leads the firm’s representation of children in immigration proceedings, ensuring that many each year are placed with safe custodians, protected from persecution in their home countries, and defended from deportation.
Represented leading national immigration organizations as amici in the New Jersey Supreme Court in a case that clarified the role of the state courts in cases involving Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and lifted barriers to this key form of immigration relief for children.
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Other Distinctions

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, New Jersey Law Journal, 2016 – one of 25 lawyers recognized for their roles in shaping New Jersey law

  • Champion of Democracy Award, Common Cause, 2013; Hurricane Heroes Award, NJ League of Women Voters, 2013 – for running Election Protection hotline and protecting voters’ rights in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

  • Leadership Award in Reproductive Rights, New York Civil Liberties Union, 2003

Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, “Ethical Issues in Representing Immigrant Children,” Pro Bono Institute Conference, DC, March 24, 2016

  • Speaker, “Reproductive Rights in the Supreme Court, 1989 to this Term,” Yale College, February 26, 2016

  • Trainer, “Representing Tenants in Eviction Proceedings,” Prudential Legal Department, January 12 and March 30, 2016

  • Panelist, “Practice Tips for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases after the NJ Supreme Court’s Decision in H.S.P. v. J.K.,” Rutgers School of Law – Newark, January 8, 2016

  • Presenter, Briefing on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, October 14, 2015

  • Panelist, “Ethical Issues in Pro Bono Practice,” Prudential Legal Department, June 15, 2015

  • Panelist, “Ethical Issues in Representing Immigrant Children,” Equal Justice Conference, May 7, 2015

  • Panelist, “Pro Bono in Practice: Criminal Justice,” Pro Bono Institute Conference, March 5, 2015

  • Panelist, “Ethics: Conflicts of Interest? A Pro Bono Bankruptcy Case Study,” Pro Bono Institute Conference, March 5, 2015

  • Panelist, “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Terminating Representation of a Pro Bono Client,” APBCo (Association of Pro Bono Counsel) Academy, Oct. 8, 2014

  • Panelist, “Real World Ethical Issues in Pro Bono Practice,” NYC Bar Association, June 16, 2014

  • Witness, “Elections in New Jersey,” Tri-State Hearing on Voting Rights, National Commission on Voting Rights, April 11, 2014

  • Panelist, “Public-Private Partnerships: The Veterans Justice Initiative,” White House Forum on Increasing Access to Justice, April 8, 2014

  • Presenter, “Same-Sex Marriage in New Jersey,” Prudential Legal Forum, December 16, 2013

  • Panelist, “Ethical Issues in Pro Bono Practice,” Equal Justice Conference, May 9, 2013

  • Speaker, "Restoring Foreclosed Properties to the Market," Best of the 2013 PBI Annual Conference Series: Marketplace of Ideas - Transactional Pro Bono Projects Webinar, April 25, 2013

  • Judge, New York Law School Moot Court Finals, Sept. 18, 2011

Publications

States Provide Model for Handling Controversial Class Action Awards
The National Law Journal, November 25, 2013
Catherine Weiss, Michael Hahn
Expecting the Unexpected: Election Planning for Emergencies
Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, October 29, 2013
Catherine Weiss, Manali Joglekar, CIPP/US/E, Meg Slachetka

Press Mentions

In Law360Catherine Weiss is mentioned with regard to the firm’s representation of leading immigration organizations in a state supreme court case that lifts state court barriers to children’s application for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. , August 27, 2015
Catherine Weiss is mentioned in the New Jersey Law Journal regarding the clarity of exemptions for lawyers working on pro bono cases. , January 5, 2015
In Law360, Lowenstein Sandler is highlighted for winning a ruling from the state Supreme Court that will increase pro bono assistance for low-income people filing for bankruptcy. Catherine Weiss comments on the court’s decision approving the pro bono bankruptcy clinic run by Volunteer Lawyers for Justice in conjunction with the firm and the legal department at Merck. , August 15, 2014
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Related Areas

Appellate
Litigation

Education


Yale Law School ( J.D. , 1987 )
Yale University ( M.A. , 1984 ) , National Science Foundation Fellowship
Princeton University ( A.B. , 1981 ) , Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude

Bar Admissions


New York
New Jersey
District of Columbia

Court Admissions


U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey

Affiliations


  • Huber Foundation, Board Member
  • Partners for Women and Justice, Board Member
  • N.J. Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Access and Fairness, Appointee
  • N.J. State Bar Association Pro Bono Committee, Member