Katherine A. Macfarlane

Associate Professor of Law
Director, Disability Law and Policy Program

(315) 443-1934
Curriculum Vitae [PDF]

Professor Katherine Macfarlane is a leading expert on civil procedure, civil rights litigation, and disability law. She serves as Director of the College of Law’s Disability Law and Policy Program and teaches Civil Rights Litigation, Constitutional Law, and Disability Law.

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.

Her scholarship has appeared in or will appear in the Fordham Law Review, North Carolina Law Review, Alabama Law Review, Yale Law Journal Forum, Columbia Law Review Forum, American University Law Review, the William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal, 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. 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 the first 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 has also 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, Bloomberg News, USA Today, NPR, and The Nation. 

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 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. She is admitted to practice in California and New York. Professor Macfarlane spent her childhood in Rome, Italy, and is fluent in Italian and Spanish.