Katherine Mulhern ’86 shares her knowledge, leadership, and dedication


Ms. Katherine Mulhern ’86 is the Executive Director of the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP), a non-profit organization that provides legal advice and support to civil society organizations and democratic governments.  With the diverse projects ISLP manages, such as providing advice to emerging governments on topics such as investment and natural resource management, Ms. Mulhern believes that the company will expand its reach and services this year.

Ms. Mulhern graduated from Sacred Heart in 1986 and furthered her education at Swarthmore College.  She later studied at Columbia University where she earned a masters degree in development and human rights and a law degree.

A portrait of Ms. Katherine Mulhern ’86. Courtesy of islp.org

After completing her degree, Ms. Mulhern engaged with several law firms including Bryan Cave Berwin Leighton Paisner Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP).   Ms. Mulhern worked as a senior partner with Bryan Cave, a London-based transnational law firm. 

One of the main areas where Ms. Mulhern focused her attention was South Africa, where she aided the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a group organized by the Government of National Unity to help alleviate the violence and conflict that arose under apartheid in South Africa, according to justice.gov.za.  Here, she helped with the war crime tribunals and the African regional treaty bodies, according to islp.org.
In the London offices of Bryan Cave, she was also responsible for building practices in American and British law firms in Moscow, Russia and Hong Kong.  Here, she assisted firms in formulating their cross border strategies.

After her global efforts with Bryan Cave, Ms. Mulhern moved to ISLP in 2016.  The company, based in New York and London, is an innovative pro bono legal support system which aids struggling countries around the world.  ISLP responds to the needs of clients with natural resource projects and helps improve tax systems while also making fair, global trade agreements, according to islp.org.

As a leader of ISLP, Ms. Mulhern explained its main focus and how they plan to improve every year in the different types of work they are launching.

“ISLP’s key focus is to provide legal advice and support to civil society, communities and emerging governments on a range of technical matters, including anti-bribery and corruption, investment, tax and trade, and natural resource management, which can include anything from oil and gas to renewables,” Ms. Mulhern said, according to islp.org.  “I fully expect a significant rise in the demand for the type of work that ISLP and its fantastic volunteers can do.”

Ms. Mulhern touched upon the new developments with ISLP and how production continues to grow every year.

Ms. Katherine Mulhern ’86 alongside two members of ISLP staff. Courtesy of islp.org

“One of the most interesting trends is the connection between the rise in capital flows, the growth in increasingly complex and opaque capital markets and debt instruments, and the increasing opacity of both funds flows and corporate structures,” Ms. Mulhern said, according to islp.org.

With her thorough experience from handling issues in South Africa to Hong Kong, Ms. Mulhern is excited to see how ISLP will progress in 2019.

“For us, the chief highlight was the increasing throughput of the organization in line with our new strategy,” Ms. Mulhern said, according to islp.org.  “We’ve found tremendous appetite for the type of work that we can deliver for clients, which goes both to the quality of our experts and their ability to deliver it in a way that’s both sophisticated and timely.”

Featured Image by Jacey Heffernan ’21