Announcing Inaugural Director of Bluhm Legal Clinic’s New LGBTQI+ Clinic Kara Ingelhart

April 17, 2024

Dear Members of the Northwestern Pritzker Law Community, 

We are excited to share that Kara Ingelhart (she/her) will be joining our faculty as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Law and the inaugural director of the Bluhm Legal Clinic’s new LGBTQI+ Rights Clinic. At a time when harassment, discrimination, and violence targeted against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) people continues to increase across the country, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law is launching an LGBTQI+ Rights Clinic within the Bluhm Legal Clinic to advance litigation and advocacy in support of LGBTQI+ rights.  

Professor Ingelhart has extensive litigation and advocacy experience and deep knowledge of the needs of LGBTQI+ clients and communities. She currently serves as Senior Attorney in the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal. We look forward to working with her to develop this important new clinic in line with the Bluhm Legal Clinic’s mission of providing superlative skills-based learning opportunities to students and top-notch legal representation to clients. 

We are extremely grateful to our OUTLaw student leaders, alumni leaders, and faculty and staff leaders whose important work and generosity have made such a difference in our developing the LGBTQI+ clinic. We also want to express our gratitude to Tom Hawkins (JD ’86), who made the initial philanthropic investment. Thank you to our Clinic Appointments Committee co-chairs Professors Lynn Cohn and Esther Barron and to committee members Professors Josh Jones, Carolyn Frazier, Len Rubinowitz, and Robin Walker Sterling and Shobha Mahadev. Thank you also to Elizabeth Fritz, Anne Caliendo, and Katie Zinneger, Allie Reid, Melissa Montemayor, and Sarah Buffett, whose leadership and support helped us recruit an amazing first leader for this clinic.  

Professor Ingelhart has extensive litigation and advocacy experience and deep knowledge of the needs of LGBTQI+ clients and communities. As Senior Attorney in the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest organization dedicated to advancing the civil rights of LGBT people and individuals living with HIV, she has played an instrumental role in advancing the rights of LGBTQI+ people under federal civil rights laws. Most recently, she was lead counsel in Wilkins v. Austin, a federal lawsuit brought on behalf of three civilians living with HIV and an organizational plaintiff, Minority Veterans of America, that challenged the U.S. military's policy barring enlistment and appointment of civilians living with HIV to military service. This follows Professor Ingelhart's role as co-counsel in Harrison v. Austin and Roe v. Austin, two successful federal lawsuits brought on behalf of service members living with HIV, as well as in Karnoski v. Trump, a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Trump administration’s ban on military service by transgender people. She has also served as co-counsel in Lambda Legal’s litigation to ensure access to accurate birth certificates for transgender people in all 50 states.  

Professor Ingelhart was also co-counsel in multiple lawsuits seeking to advance and protect the rights of LGBTQI+ young people, including Evancho v. Pine-Richland School District, where a court held that the equal protection guarantee protects transgender students from discrimination (including access to sex-segregated bathrooms). In addition to her work as a litigator, Ingelhart has contributed to federal, state, and municipal legislative and policy efforts concerning the inclusion of protections for LGBTQI+ people and people living with HIV who are involved in the federal criminal legal system.

Recognized as an emerging leader and dedicated advocate for the civil rights of LGBTQI+ people, Professor Ingelhart has spoken at some of America’s leading law schools, including University of Chicago, Northwestern, Indiana University, and Notre Dame. In addition to Professor Ingelhart's work as a LGBTQI+ and HIV movement lawyer, she is also an adjunct professor at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and at the University of Chicago Law School, where she developed and teaches a seminar course examining the treatment of gender identity, studying significant legal issues and cases involving transgender, nonbinary, and intersex litigants, and exploring criminalization and non-discrimination protections, as well as constitutional jurisprudence and theory. She has been recognized as one of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association (2020) and as one of Chicago’s LGBTQ Community’s Best and Brightest Individuals Under 30 by the Windy City Times (2016).

Professor Ingelhart graduated from The University of Chicago Law School, and she received her bachelor’s degree in biology and gender studies from Indiana University. She is a member of the Illinois bar. 

Please join us in welcoming Professor Ingelhart. We look forward to the difference that she will make through her important leadership.

Dean Hari M. Osofsky
Associate Dean Robin Walker Sterling