AmeriCorps Legal Fellow: Katherine B. Hollingsworth

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Katherine Hollingsworth was selected as an AmeriCorps/Equal Justice Works Legal Fellow, and serves as an attorney in Legal Aid’s Consumer Law Practice Group.

For her fellowship, sponsored and funded in part by AmeriCorps and the Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization Equal Justice Works, Katherine is focused on helping people avoid foreclosure through litigation and mediation. The Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation provides a match for the Equal Justice Works funding, so Cleveland Legal Aid could host a Fellow. Foreclosure is devastating, especially for low income families, and Katherine says she is happy to help in “one of the areas of greatest need for our community.”

Ms. Hollingsworth graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont with a degree in biology and briefly considered a career in patent litigation. She quickly discovered, however, that her love for biology did not translate into a love for patent work. Instead, she discovered her interest in public service while a student at Georgetown University Law Center. During her second and third years, Katherine spent time working at the school’s legal clinics. For one semester during her 3L year, Katherine was part of a Family Advocacy clinic, where she represented families with special needs children. She worked with school administrators to develop Individual Education Plans and medical officials to pinpoint the children’s needs. Katherine is thankful she had the opportunity to gain experience helping low income families and says she loved the work. It was a way to have a “real-life” impact and put the theory she learned in the classroom into practice.

In her initial fellowship months at Legal Aid, Katherine points to one particular case that has impacted her: the client was an elderly grandmother raising her teenage grandson. The grandmother was trying to save the home she has lived in for 40 years from foreclosure and to keep her grandson at his school. “My client is committed to doing everything she can to save her home,” Katherine says, adding that her goal is to “utilize all of the mediation and litigation tools available”¦to make that happen.”

Working at Legal Aid is a somewhat of a homecoming for Ms. Hollingsworth. A native of Shaker Heights, Katherine returned last year to the Cleveland area with her husband – an assistant US Attorney – and children after living and practicing law in Boston. For Katherine, working with families to keep their homes is more than a response to the foreclosure crisis; it is a way to give back to the community where she was born and raised.

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