Katherine Spaht Named Distinguished Professor by Louisiana Bar Foundation

Katherine Shaw Spaht, the Jules F. and Frances L. Landry Professor of Law, was named the 2006 Distinguished Professor by the Louisiana Bar Foundation. The Foundation honored Professor Spaht at a gala event held in New Orleans April 20, 2007.
Professor Spaht earned her B.A. from the University of Mississippi in 1968 and her law degree from LSU Law in 1971. She began her teaching career at the Law Center in 1972, concentrating on Civil Code subjects that impact the family, including Family Law, Matrimonial Regimes, and Successions and Donations. She also taught Obligations for 26 years.
In announcing the award, the Foundation acknowledged Professor Spaht’s commitment to teaching and her service to the state, beginning with her 1977 appointment by the Louisiana State Legislature as chair of an advisory committee to draft revisions to Louisiana’s community property law. Her work resulted in the enactment in 1979 of a comprehensive reform of that law.
Professor Spaht was subsequently appointed to chair two legislative advisory committees and one legislative task force on the topics of the rights of illegitimate children and child support. She remains the reporter for the Marriage/Persons Committee of the Louisiana State Law Institute, serving since 1981, and as such retains responsibility for the ongoing revision of Book I of the Civil Code. As a member of the American Law Institute, she was an active participant during the 1990s in meetings and discussions of the Consultative Group for the project titled Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution (published in 2000). Her other public service includes serving on several task forces created by Louisiana governors to study such issues as women’s rights and the manner of judicial selection.
In an unofficial capacity, Professor Spaht drafted Louisiana’s covenant marriage law and since its enactment in 1997 she has consulted and spoken widely in this country and abroad on the subject. As an active member of the informally recognized "Marriage Movement," she has taken part in numerous conferences and consultative groups created by the Institute for American Values in New York. She served as a paid consultant to the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy in Washington, DC, drafting model legislation.
She is the author of a treatise on Louisiana community property (three editions), three textbooks in her subject matter areas of teaching, seven book chapters, and more than seventy articles and essays for law reviews and journals in the United States and overseas.
Among the previous recipients of the award are LSU Law Professors Paul Baier, William Crawford, Saul Litvinoff, Frank Maraist, and former Chancellor William Hawkland.