Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The University of Iowa College of Law is pleased to announce that Kate Melloy Goettel, a national leader in immigration law and federal court practice, will join the faculty in August 2024. 

Kate Melloy Goettel Headshot

The 2007 Iowa Law School graduate will start and lead an ongoing federal civil rights clinic with an immigration focus. The clinic will teach students civil litigation skills that can be applied to a broad range of legal careers whether at a law firm, government office or agency, or public-interest organization. The cases will focus on impact litigation in the immigration space, representing non-citizens before the federal district and appellate courts. 

Goettel has extensive experience practicing immigration law in the nonprofit and government sectors. She has most recently served as senior legal director for the American Immigration Council, leading high-impact class-action and multi-plaintiff litigation under federal statutes and the U.S. Constitution. She previously was associate director of litigation for the National Immigrant Justice Center. In 2019, the Federal Bar Association named her NGO Lawyer of the Year.  

From 2009 to 2017, Goettel was a trial attorney and senior litigation counsel for the Office of Immigration Litigation (OIL) in the U.S. Department of Justice, where she litigated cases in nearly 40 federal district courts and handled appeals in the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. At OIL, she defended federal immigration agencies, trained and supervised attorneys, advised U.S. Attorney’s Offices on civil immigration cases, and served on the inter-agency team that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act in the Supreme Court in 2013 (United States v. Windsor).

In addition, Goettel is a member of the Executive Board of the Federal Bar Association’s Immigration Law Section and was its 2022-2023 section chair. The association recognized her work and leadership with the 2023 Barry Frager Award for Service to the Federal Bar Association Immigration Law Section.

Goettel is a frequent presenter and lecturer to bar associations and attorney groups. She has appeared in or been quoted by many media outlets and has published articles in immigration-related legal publications.

“I'm thrilled to return to the University of Iowa clinical program, which was instrumental in my legal education,” Goettel said. “The clinic is where I represented my first clients, learned immigration law, and grappled with the challenges of legal practice. I'm excited to work with students as they walk through that learning process, and I'm honored to join such an inspiring group of clinicians.”