2013 Legal Elite profile: Legal Services/Pro Bono
Phyllis C. Katz
Sands Anderson PC
Other legal specialties: Employment, government and nonprofit law
Birthplace: Elizabeth, N.J.
Education: Douglass College, Rutgers University, bachelor’s degree; Ohio University, master’s in urban and regional planning; University of Richmond, law degree
Children: A daughter and son, their spouses and five grandchildren
Hobbies or pastimes: “Inventing food recipes; teaching/coaching/mentoring; exploring new venues and neighborhoods; traveling unfrequented paths.”
First job as a lawyer: Office of Attorney General of Virginia
Favorite vacation spot: Aspen and its music festival; Paris; Crete
Recently read book: “Five Miles Away, A World Apart” by James E. Ryan
Career mentors: “There are so many that selecting a few would be a disservice to the others. One person who has been an inspiration and a collaborator is Ann Hodges (co-founder of the Legal Information Network for Cancer) — without her I would not be asked these questions.”
You are a co-founder of LINC. What is LINC’s purpose and how did it get started?
“LINC was created to (1) advocate for persons with cancer who were experiencing adverse consequences arising from their cancer treatments and recovery and (2) provide easy access to attorneys knowledgeable in the issues and willing to take on the representation at the drop of a hat. In the mid-1990s many of the current standard treatments for cancer were denied coverage as being ‘experimental’ or ‘not medically necessary’ (such as reconstruction after breast cancer surgery). Financial issues and creditor actions plagued (and still do) cancer patients — a diagnosis of cancer is costly — lost time from work, no income, and huge medical expenses. Cancer patients in hospice found themselves needing guardianship for their minor children. The vision of energizing attorneys to volunteer their time and knowledge to help cancer patients deal with the legal issues that impacted their recovery has always been the goal of LINC. Since 1996 LINC has served hundreds of patients a year to effectively deal with non-medical impacts of cancer.”