From scholarship winner to associate attorney in one year
DUBUQUE, Iowa — Loras College, a Catholic liberal arts college, will welcome Brittney Cato, a 2013 graduate and associate attorney at a national law firm, to deliver the keynote address for the College’s 179th commencement at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 19 in its Athletic Wellness Center.
“Brittney’s fierce determination is sure to inspire and motivate our newest alumni,” Jim Collins, president of Loras College, said. “She set herself apart when she was at Loras and now is doing the same in her career. We’re excited to hear her Loras story.”
Cato is an associate attorney at the Hinshaw and Culbertson LLP, Law Firm in Chicago. The national firm employs 525 attorneys with 25 offices across the United States and London. Founded in 1934, its more than 1,000 employees serve clients ranging from emerging and middle-market businesses to Fortune 500 companies, as well as governmental and public-sector clients.
Cato’s practice focuses on consumer financial services with emphasis on the defense of claims brought under a number of state and federal consumer laws, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices. Cato is involved in all phases of the litigation process.
Cato graduated from Loras cum laude in English, literature and Spanish in 2013 and then cum laude, from DePaul University College of Law with a juris doctorate in 2016.
“I am thrilled to be back on campus this May and humbled at the opportunity to speak to the graduating class of 2018,” she said. “Loras was fundamental in helping me develop and hone the skills I needed to make it through law school and to land my dream job at an amazing firm. I am excited to share my story and to impress upon the graduating class that Loras has set them up for success in whatever path they may choose.”
Each year, Hinshaw & Cublertson awards a scholarship, as well as a summer associate position, to a diverse second-year law student with exceptional academic credentials as part of the firm’s DePaul Diversity Scholarship. Cato received the scholarship and was a summer associate at the firm in 2015. That same year she began as a law clerk for the firm and named associate attorney in October 2016.
Cato graduated in the top 15 percent of her law school class and was inducted into the Order of the Barrister. The national honorary organization recognizes individuals who have excelled in advocacy and service at their respective schools. While at DePaul University College of Law, she was a member of the dean’s list, recipient of multiple Dean’s scholarships in addition to Hinshaw’s DePaul Diversity Scholarship.
Outside the classroom, Cato was a member of the Black Law Student Association Mock Trial Team. She participated in the 2015 Thurgood Marshall Midwest Regional Mock Trial Competition where she received the Outstanding Advocate Award.
Cato also was selected for the Intellectual Property Legal Analysis Research and Communication Section and completed the lecture series “An Introduction to IP Theory and Practice.” She received several awards for criminal law and intellectual property licensing and drafting and served as a teaching assistant at DePaul.
Prior to her legal career, Cato was a basketball coach to high school and elementary school athletes. While a senior at Loras, she earned the Charles T. Stoner Law Scholarship from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
She is also volunteer chairperson of the Associate Board Executive Committee for Marillac St. Vincent Family Services. The organization cares for infants, children, teens, adults and seniors living in Chicago who are the city’s most vulnerable.
ABOUT LORAS COLLEGE
Loras leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan institutions to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. Loras ranks among 450 NCAA Division III athletic programs in Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, 11th out of the Top 100 baccalaureate colleges, according to the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings, 13th Best Regional College, according to Midwest U.S. News Best Colleges and is among the 200 Best-Loved Colleges in the nation, according to Forbes Magazine.