The Catholic University of America


Who We Are


The Office of General Counsel ("OGC") manages the legal affairs of the university. In that role, its major activities include: management of all external litigation and government agency complaints; advice to the university from the Board of Trustees, President and senior officers of CUA to supervisors and individual faculty and staff regarding all legal questions arising in day-to-day operations of the university; and preventive law initiatives. OGC also maintains this Campus Legal Information Clearinghouse website, and is responsible for community relations.

Communications regarding legal matters with the OGC attorneys on behalf of CUA are ordinarily protected by attorney-client privilege (as legal rules permit) and are confidential. The OGC is not allowed to provide personal legal advice to employees or students but can provide referrals if needed. Please remember that communications to our office through e-mail are not necessarily secure and hence their confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.

Legal Staff 

General Counsel
Nancy Morrison O'Connor 

B.A. Gettysburg College, J.D. Notre Dame.

Prior to joining the University, O'Connor was a partner at Bracewell LLP, where she represented clients in compliance, internal investigations, transactions, and litigation.

Prior to joining Bracewell, O’Connor served as the deputy general counsel and vice president for human resources and employee benefits at Allbritton Communications Company in Washington, D.C. Her experience also includes 17 years at Norton Rose Fulbright (Houston and Washington, D.C.) and a federal appointment at the Office of Research Integrity. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School, where she has taught Intensive Trial Advocacy since 2004. She has served on the Board of the National Veterans Legal Services Program since 2014 and currently serves on the DC Circuit Credentials Committee for the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. She served as chair of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Commission on Human Rights and its Case Review Board.

Major areas of practice: Counsels the CUA President, Vice Presidents and Provost; Development; Faculty Affairs, Human Resources, Administration, Litigation Management; EEOC investigations and mediation; sexual harassment and sexual assault claims; employment matters, and constitutional/First Amendment issues.  

Associate General Counsel for Policy and Compliance
Margaret L. O'Donnell

B. S., University of Virginia, J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School. Her prior work experience includes working as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for Dane County, Wisconsin as well as in a small law firm in Madison, Wisconsin. Peg also worked as a legislative aide in Madison, Wisconsin; as a lobbyist for gun control in Boston, Massachusetts and as an independent contractor for the Dept. of Education on privacy issues and for NACUA on training issues.  She authored an article on FERPA for the Journal of College and University Law.

Major areas of practice: Student Record Privacy, Copyright, Disability Law, First Amendment and Religion, and all questions related to federal regulations and compliance, as well as contracts and other day to day issues.  Author of the CUA Office of General Counsel Web Page. Peg O'Donnell has worked for CUA since January of 1996. 

Associate General Counsel

Scott Goldschmidt

Scott Goldschmidt is Associate General Counsel for The Catholic University of America. His main responsibilities include litigation preparation, policy development, construction issues, athletics, contracts, research issues and other day to day legal issues. Before starting full time at Catholic University, Scott worked as a law clerk at the U.S. Department of Education, Office of General Counsel, in the post-secondary education division and was a research assistant to Professor William Kaplin for the fifth edition of The Law of Higher Education treatise. Scott earned a B.A. from The George Washington University and a J.D. from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, where he was Lead Articles Editor of the Law Review.


Legal Assistant

Ed Schaefer

Ed Schaefer is a retired Navy Commander, cryptologist for 20 years, 2 months and 16 days. Five children, including 4 CUA graduates.  Ed and his wife Ellen are also CUA alumni. Ed is the Veteran's Affairs Coordinator for the University. He has worked in various departments in the University since 2005.  

Selected OGC Intern/Law Student Clerk projects

Regina Crisafulli: Fall 1998
ADA ComplianceWatchdog program, EEO ministerial duties 

Maura Tierney: Spring 1998
Sexual Harassment brochure; DC Law webpages 

Michael Boyd: Spring-Summer `99
Bond transaction; Compliance schedules 

Adria Nobles: Summer `99
Mediation Handbook for Human Resources office 

Travis Nelson: Spring 2000
FERPA PowerPoint training program 

John Hasman: Spring 2000
Employment law materials 

Karen Hauda: Spring 2000
Technology Transfer website 

David Heaton: Spring-Summer 2000
Campus Alcohol Reduction Effort (CARE)

Susanna Segulja: June 2000 - May 2001
DC law web pages 

Carrie O'Neill: Spring 2001 through Fall 2001
Immigration training packet for H-1B; study abroad programs;

memo on voluntary compliance models for higher ed. regulations 

Dan Lewis: Spring 2001
EEOC Of Counsel newsletter;
Draft of "manager training program" 

John DiGregorio: Summer 2001
Tax information/web page revisions 

Simone Davis: Summer 2001
CARE Project; Driver Safety Training
Adjunct Faculty Draft Web Page;
New model Affilliation agreements

Peter Kelly: Summer 2001 through Fall 2001
ADA Audits - Architecture, Admissions, and Music

Memo on Background Checks for Children's Education Center employees  

Dan Perlman: 2001-2002
Plagiarism project 

Emyrtle Bennett: Spring 2002
model nursing school affiliation agreement 

Patricia Black: 2002-03
Nursing graduate student developing CARE materials,

Parents CARE initiative 

Kathryn Benner: Summer 2002 through Spring 2004
student life and CEC compliance; Title IX analysis

Confidentiality for campus ministry staff; assist with SCHEV and MHEC filings,

Affirmative Action: Brief Law School Dean; Power Point Presentation to Deans;

EEO audit, Legal Compliance Guide for Instructional Staff;
review conflict of interest policy with NIH recommendations

Xavier Baker: Summer 2002
Revision of sexual harassment brochure; NAGPRA

Peter Trentacoste: Spring 2003 

Katrina Wawer: Summer 2003
GLB training brochure
; off-campus programs;
re-drafted portions of Legal
Compliance Guide for faculty.

Bryan Knowles: Summer 2003
Wrote memo and assisted with training on debt collection practices.

Lauren Dunlap: Fall 2003
Developed materials for symposium with acadademic deans
on legal issue for professional schools:
("fitness for practice" as part of professional licensing) 

Michele Bisaccia: Spring 2004
Memo on employee background checks
back-ground research and memo on employee drug testing.

Melissa Bedwell: Spring 2004
CUA teacher education program;
IDEA grant record keeping requirements;
"Law and the classroom" powerpoint for Education students 

Nicole DeCostello: Summer 2004
Memo on Human Subject Research regulations compliance;
worked on new web page, "CLIC-IT"

Megan Reidy: Summer 2004
Updated all federal, D.C., Maryland and Virginia drug and alcohol
laws for CUA student handbook and CUA annual security report;

developed training colloquium for faculty department chairs,

Katie Creely: Summer 2004 and Summer 2005
Memo on application of Bayh-Dole Act requirements;
Patent program; researched CUA's draft "Intellectual Property 

Jamie Larson: Fall 2004 through summer 2006

Records Clerk in 2004, Assisted as Policy Page webmaster fall 2005 through Summer 2006;
This included assisting in conforming print and paper versions of policies, staffing policy meetings,
and making a major contribution to the effort to revamp the CUA Policy Page.

Robin Tarabochia: Spring 2005 through spring 2006
Criminal background check memo;

Credit checks under FACTA & FCRA;
Copyright and movies memo;
Memo on off campus activities:

Choreographer Pie Day 2005

Robert Koerpel: Summer 2005
Updated the OGC digital filing system

Geraldine M. Muir: Summer 2006
Comprehensive review of Club Sports and Study Abroad
legal compliance and memo for reducing liability;
FERPA training video

Jake Yakubisin: Summer 2006

Create and edit with CPIT/OGC a series of training videos on preventive law for CUA staff

Caroline Jacobson: Spring 2007
Caroline worked on off-campus travel issues, a defense and indemnification policy, a memo updating the law and required actions on financial aid and affirmative action; made updates to the DC Law web pages. 

Joseph Hansen: Spring 2007
Joe created a litigation hold checklist and procedures in response to the new Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Relating to Discovery and Electronically Stored Information. He also wrote a memo on the copyright implications of podcasting Catholic Mass over the internet. Joe researched and wrote a memo on the issue of nuisance and off-campus housing. 

Rashmee Tadvalkar: Spring 2007
Rashmee wrote a series of memos on a variety of tax issues affecting the university.

John Schlageter (CUA Columbus School of Law Class of 2006) October 2006 through June 2007
Jack worked on community relations, bankruptcy, trademark, the 2007 bond deal and a variety of other projects.

Chip Moldenhauer: Spring 2007
memo on CUA conflict of interest policies; SOX, university whistleblower, CUA fraud Hotline, D.C. non-profit regulation; corporate status, D.C. non-profit oversight improvement act of 2007

Avanti Kulkarni: Summer 2007

worked on FPCO letters project; tracked DC legislation; updates to; worked on contract forms. 

Pallavi Kakade: Summer 2007 and Summer 2008
Pallavi worked on a number projects for OGC, including gathering of affirmative action data for OGC.

Nancy Conneely: Fall 2007 through Spring 2008 Nancy worked on an audit of ADA compliance in Athletics at the outdoor football stadium and baseball field; updating the Department of Environmental Health & Safety website regarding regulations; a review of new District of Columbia legislation on paid safe and sick leave; web pages for faculty regarding Off-campus travel; and a memo addressing the new Maryland non-discrimination statute Title 49B. 

Pauline Khamo: Summer 2008 Pauline worked with the Development Office and OGC to determine donor bequests that might meet the criteria under the Uniform Prudent Management of Insitutitonal Funds Act. Pauline also worked with OGC, Public Safety and Student Life to evaluate and make suggested changes to the university's sexual assault prevention program. Pauline also worked on a number of miscellaneous projects.

Robert Law: summer 2008, Rob produced memoranda covering: the university contract review process and signature authority; liability for certain activities at the athletic center; background history of the university's retirement plans; he reviewed and revised the CUA drug and alcohol penalties chart; advised on certain professional responsibilities under D.C. Bar Rules; and researched requirements and standards for campuses to maintain student emergency evacuation plans under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Cristina Caraballo: Spring 2010. Cristina worked on an information security audit of the Law School. She also worked on the Farone Foundation Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. Cristina also assisted with filing for renewal of some CUA trademarks.

Tom O'Leary,  CUA honors student, worked for the OGC Summer 2010 to May 2011.  Tom helped keep all of the web pages current, among other projects.

Scott Goldschmidt: May 2011 till June 2012 as law clerk. Then starting fall 2012 as an attorney in the office.  Scott worked on program integrity rules, licensing of the University in Virginia, and researched a number of constitutional issues, including background research on the "same sex dorms" case, ERISA questions, Sponsored Program research issues and more.

Jay Goossen, Summer 2012: Jay worked on a number of projects, accomplishing a great deal in a short time. The projects included distance education regulations, a contract with a major donor for a gift in kind, standardizing contracts for events at the Pryz and summer programs in dorms, and also an oil and gas lease.

Brandon Romanchok: Sept 2012-June 2013. Brandon worked on issues relating to Institutional Advancement, contracts, conflict of interest, UPMIFA and a variety of other legal issues.

Gypsy Clement: Jan. 2013-May 2014.  Gypsy worked on Title IX , waivers and releases,
The Campus Security Act, employment issues including unionization of adjuncts,  Board of Trustee issues, distance education, litigation prep and many other topics.

Erik Turkman: Spring 2014 -Institutional Advancement, labor relations, distance education, and intellectual property.

William S. Russell: June 2014-April 2015 Will worked on 1st Amendment issues, Title IX, bankruptcy issues, and NLRB issues.

Stephen Fey: Spring 2015- through Spring 2016- Export controls, Drones and the FAA, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, tax treaties, employment law, contract review, copyright, and Telecommuting-Tax issues.

Andrew Miller: Summer 2015-and spring 2016- First Amendment/Religion, debt collection, Labor and Employment law, including DC Wage Theft Act, EEOC, and DC Human Rights Law, FMLA, policy drafting and research on health care issues affecting large employers.

Richa Sethi: Sept. 2015-through Spring 2016-Licensing, minors on campus, parental leave, ADA issues, contracts, distance education, EEOC, Title IX, and DCHRA issues. 

Aurora Wheeland: Summer 2016 FLSA, Title IX,  Policy Revisions, EULAs, Domestic and International Contracts, Licensing Requirements, Copyright and Music issues, NRLB, scholarships , EEOC, and testamentary bequests, among other issues. 

Patrick Burke: Summer 2016: Licensing issues; Security on Campus; federal contracting issue; international research data, out of state employment rules, contracts; FLSA: and affiliation agreements.

Kelby Carlson: Summer 2016: ADA; contracts for running sports camps; Title VII; federal regulations affecting higher education; immigration; and employment law. 

Amanda Stirone, Sept. 2016-present, DC legislation, trademark and copyright issues, DACA, testamentary bequests, ACA, contracts, Title IX, EEOC and tax. 

McKenzie Miller, Summer 2017: ERISA, Title IX, Protection of Minors, summer camps, labor/employment issues, transcripts and disciplinary notations, and trademark. 

John "Jae" Terry, Summer 2017: Title IX, Contracts, Camps on campus, and Cybersecurity



Craig Parker, former CUA General Counsel and lifetime consulting attorney in times of need!

B.S., Journalism, University of Kansas, 1971; J.D., Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America, 1978; Certified Law Librarian, 1980. Licensed to practice in Maryland. Craig became General Counsel of The University System of the District of Columbia in December 2009.

Craig Parker served as General Counsel to The Catholic University of America from 1987 to 2009. He was Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Dean of the Law School from 1980-1987. He attended law school at CUA, and was a law librarian during and after law school from 1976-1980. Before law school, Mr. Parker worked as a VISTA Volunteer with the Delaware Division of Consumer Affairs and a newspaper reporter. He is a former member of the Legal Services Review Panel of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; serves on the NCAA General Counsel's Advisory Board; is active in the National Association of College and University Attorneys; and is Treasurer and on the Board of Directors of The Arc of Prince George's County, a non-profit serving people with disabilities in Prince George's County, Maryland. Craig also was a co-founder, with Peg O'Donnell, of the Campus Legal Information Clearinghouse.

Kathryn Bender, former CUA Associate General Counsel

B.A., Psychology, Meredith College, 1977; M.A., Higher Education Administration, Columbia University, 1978;  J.D., Suffolk University School of Law, 1984;. Licensed to practice in Massachusetts, District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina (pending). Kathryn became General Counsel of The College of Charleston in November 2012.

Kathryn served as Assistant General Counsel and then Associate General Counsel to The Catholic University of America from 1990 to 2007.  She served as Associate Vice President for Legal Affairs to the University of North Carolina General Administration from 2007-2010 and owned Triangle ADR, a consulting firm to colleges and universities from 2010 to November 2012, when she was asked to serve as General Counsel for the College of Charleston. (Go Cougars!)  She taught at the Columbus School of Law and at Campbell Law School.  She is a former Board member for the National Association of College and University Attorneys and has given presentations at their annual conferences. Kathryn is also invited to speak at many other conferences, seminars and college programs.   She was an active participant in OGC’s annual Pie Day and enjoyed writing parodies for OGC.


Peggy Truesdale Haney

B.A., General Studies, The Catholic University of America, 2006.

Peggy Truesdale Haney was with the Office of General Counsel from  April 2000 to June 2010 with primary responsibility for records management and administrative support. She was also the coordinator of all social festivities, including Pie Day. She left in summer 2010 to work for President Garvey.

Sarah Phelps, former General Counsel

Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, B.A. Cum Laude in Political Science, 1985. Cambridge University, Pembroke College, Cambridge, England, M. Phil., 1988. Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York, New York, J.D., 1990. Intern law clerk for the Hon. Leonard Sand, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1989. Neighborhood legal services attorney 1991-94; private litigation practice 1994-96; Associate General Counsel The George Washington University, 1996-2004; Founder of Great and Small, Inc., a non-profit providing horseback lessons to persons with disabilities. In 2007, Phelps was honored by WJLA-TV Channel 7 from among over 200 nominees for extraordinary community service.  Sarah worked with the Office of General Counsel from 2008, and served as  General Counsel from March 1, 2010 until May 2011. She is now the General Counsel at Trinity University.

Lawrence J.  Morris, General Counsel from August 2011 to Dec. 31, 2017

Marquette University, B.A. and J.D.; M.S. in national strategy from the National Defense University, an LL.M. from the Judge Advocate General’s School. Morris has more than 29 years experience as a U.S. Army and civilian attorney. Morris provided legal, ethics, and policy advice; litigated more than 100 cases; and reviewed legal investigations in the U.S. and overseas.

Morris  was general counsel of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. and professor and chairman of the Criminal Law Department of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School in Charlottesville, Va., which provides accredited graduate legal education to military and civilian attorneys of the armed services.

He is author of “Military Justice: A Guide to the Issues,” published by McGraw-Hill in 2010, and more than a dozen articles and training publications used by U.S. military prosecutors and defenders around the world. In January of 2018 Morris became the Chief of Staff for Catholic University. 

 Chuck Rhine-Former Office Manager

Bachelor of Arts, University of North Texas, 2005; Master of Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary, 2010. Chuck obtained a  PhD student in the Semitics program at CUA in 2015. 

Matthew Martin-Former Graduate Assisant-July 2015-May 2016, MA from University of St. Thomas, PhD The Catholic University of America, received May 2016 in Historicial Theology, Thesis: The Kingdom of God in the Gospel Commentaries of St. Thomas Aquinas

Legal Assistant

Katherine Olson

Bachelor of Arts, Harvard University, 2006; Master of Arts, McMaster University, 2009. J.D. Columbus School of Law May 2015. 


 updated 1-10-18