Alumna Catherine Dorvil Ensures Reproductive Rights in Liberia


Catherine Dorvil, JD '09Catherine Dorvil, JD ’09, puts her beliefs into action every day. As a commercial litigator at Hogan Lovells, Dorvil engages in exciting and high-level legal analyses; however, while many litigators may be content with securing victories for their corporate clients, she sees her position in a “big” law firm as an opportunity to “sustain people who need a voice.”

Dorvil initially entered law school with the goal of working in human rights or immigration law but subsequently entered private practice. However, Dorvil has never wavered from her commitment to solving problems and making a positive impact on other people’s lives. After the summer of her firs year of law school, Dorvil worked with a human rights organization and interned with the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration Court. She ultimately decided to accept a position at Hogan Lovells the summer after her second year.

The firm’s commitment to pro bono work made it the perfect fit. Discussions with Assistant Dean Marni Lennon helped Dorvil realize that she could have an immense public interest impact by working at a large law firm. Her first pro bono project was working with the Liberian ministry to help rewrite the country’s public health and reproductive health laws.

Before law school Dorvil lived in Haiti and worked as an occupational therapist for children with disabilities. After several years, she moved to Boston to complete a Master’s Degree in Public Health at Harvard University and then returned to Haiti to become the executive director of a public health program for mothers and children. Five years later, after the coup d’état and other tumultuous events, she applied to law school. She chose Miami Law after being selected as a Miami Scholar and receiving the Soia Mentschikoff Scholarship.

Today, she spends a considerable amount of time helping local victims of human trafficking through the Miami-Dade County Legal Aid “Put Something Back” Program. She has realized the powerful influence she can have by utilizing Hogan Lovell’s extraordinary resources.

As a single mother of three adopted daughters, Dorvil has worked hard to find a work/life balance and is fortunate that Hogan Lovells has accommodated what is important to her – intellectually challenging cases combined with a commitment to pro bono work and her daughters.

Within seconds of speaking with Dorvil it is clear to anyone that a pro bono ethic is intrinsic in everything she does. Whether it was her work in Haiti, her commitment to her daughters, or her legal career, she has never lost focus of what is most important.