Elizabeth D. Katz is a legal historian whose scholarship focuses on laws governing families and the development of the legal profession. Her publications have interrogated the introduction of interspousal liability and challenged conventional wisdom about the historical treatment of domestic violence by differentiating between the criminal, tort, and divorce contexts. Her current project, “Courting American Families: The Creation and Evolution of Courts of Domestic Relations,” is the first book-length history of family courts. The project examines how litigants, lawyers, judges, and probation officers have interacted with and shaped family courts, which have been one of the most common sites for ordinary Americans to interact directly and meaningfully with the legal system for over a century. Elizabeth’s work has been supported by, among other sources, the American Historical Association, the American Society for Legal History, and Harvard University’s Center for American Political Studies, Weatherhead Initiative on Gender Inequality, and Kennedy School of Government’s History and Public Policy Initiative. In 2009, the American Society for Legal History named her a Kathryn T. Preyer Scholar.
Elizabeth is the inaugural fellow in the Stanford Center for Law and History. She is completing a Ph.D. dissertation in History at Harvard University and previously received a J.D. and M.A. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Between law school and returning to academia, Elizabeth clerked for the Honorable J. Frederick Motz on the United States District Court for the District of Maryland and worked as a litigation associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Covington & Burling for three years. Elizabeth also completed a six-month pro bono rotation at Neighborhood Legal Services Program, where she represented low-income residents of the District of Columbia in divorce, custody, and child support cases.