Laura Caty knows that focus and determination wins the race. It was her passion for playing squash that taught her this. Hours upon hours of tedious “solo hitting,” the practice of hitting the squash ball against a wall was just one of the drills that helped her eventually earn a national ranking in the sport, and a spot on Cornell University’s D1 Women’s Squash Team that was ranked 6th in the nation.
“Squash will mold you,” Laura said with excitement. “Not only is it a high fitness sport, it also builds character.” Laura described the vulnerability of being caged in glass while competing one-on-one with an opponent, and how the spectators peer onto the court where every move you make (good or bad) is completely transparent.
“You have to own every mistake, and it really teaches you how to perform under pressure.”
Laura was 12 when her father, a pediatric surgeon, recommended she give squash a try after all her broken bones from playing other sports like lacrosse, soccer, and ice hockey. “I’m a pretty competitive person,” Laura said, and apparently she has the medical records to prove it.
Growing up in Buffalo, Laura remembers the trips with her mother and father across the United States and Canada for her squash tournaments. “It was kind of our thing,” Laura said with a smile. As busy as her father was, he always made time to attend her games and competitions. That gesture seemed to have made an impact on Laura.
Laura’s father also happens to be the Surgeon-in-Chief of the Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital. Her mother, an immigration attorney, also runs her own non-profit. Her sister Jane is a cornea surgeon and brother Peter is a privacy attorney. You’ll have to ask Laura what any of her 43 first cousins do. To say Laura comes from a large and successful family is an understatement. What is her family’s secret?
“Hard work,” Laura says.
No job was ever truly too big or too small. It’s all about getting the job done and learning from her experiences. Laura remembers her friends laughing at her hair net when she worked at the Tim Horton’s drive-through when she was 16. Minimum wage jobs and volunteer work occupied Laura’s summers growing up. When she wasn’t hostessing at Denny’s or handing out food to cars, Laura volunteered at a hospital maternity ward and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
“During a fundraiser at Make-a-Wish I spent the entire time with one little girl who would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She was going through an incredibly tough time with her illness and couldn’t play like the other children, but all she wanted to do was make thank you cards for each one of her family members and the Make-A-Wish staff. She was one of the most positive people I have ever met in my life. It was one of those life-changing experiences that taught me to be a more positive person,” Laura said.
So what led Laura from the squash court to the courtroom? Laura doesn’t know why she drew a self-portrait titled “Laura Caty Lawyer” when she was only four years old. Her parents still have the drawing of her wearing a robe and holding a gavel. Perhaps it was only a coincidence. But later in life Laura would admire first hand how her mother stood up for herself and others in the courtroom, paving the way for her own career in law. It was during dinner at KAZE in Over-the-Rhine when Laura and her brother decided to go into law school at the same time, he at the University of Maine School of Law, and she at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
Her class was the first ever to take the Bar Exam online, and this was after a three-month delay due to COVID-19. It was also the first class to graduate via Zoom. Although graduating from law school during a pandemic presented its own set of unique challenges, she recalled the excitement and fulfillment she experienced while doing work for the Ohio Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization that works to free incarcerated individuals who were wrongly convicted of crimes.
Laura proudly remembers the late nights pouring over transcripts, the stakeouts, interviews, and forensic testing that helped build cases which could one day exonerate an inmate. She recalled what it was like being present for one man’s release in Cleveland after being imprisoned for thirty years for a crime he didn’t commit.
“We waited for him with his family in the hallway of the jail and when we saw him, he just ran right past us all until he got outside to the fresh air. Everyone was crying when we caught up to him, it was an amazing moment.”
Today Laura lives in Hyde Park with her rescue dog Leonidas the King. When she’s not at work Laura plays squash at the University Club where she also serves on the board. Four or five times per year Laura makes it out to visit her family who now live in Connecticut. “My sister is getting ready to have their first child,” Laura said. “My whole family is over-the-moon happy about it.”
Laura is a member of the Firm’s Labor & Employment Group, practicing primarily in litigation and advice and counsel. Laura defends clients against a variety of government agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). She works daily with businesses to provide advice regarding hiring, termination, severance, and accommodations, as well as ensure compliance with local and federal laws.
Laura recently graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law where she served on the Moot Court Honor Board, Co-chaired the nation’s only national products liability moot court competition, the University of Cincinnati College of Law Honor Council, and the Immigration and Human Rights Law Review. Laura served as an intern for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio for Judge Karen Litkovitz. Laura also worked for the Ohio Innocence Project as a fellow where she investigated claims of actual innocence.
Prior to law school, Laura was the Executive Director of a nonprofit squash academy in Fairfax, Ohio. She received her Bachelor of Science with a minor in business from Cornell University, where she competed in Division I athletics on the Women’s Varsity Squash team.
Laura lives in Hyde Park with her rescue dog Leonidas the King. Outside of Graydon, Laura loves traveling with her family and has recently visited Patagonia and Portugal.