Katherine Hatton, JD, vice president, general counsel and secretary of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is a distinguished attorney whose expertise includes general business and media issues and was vice president and counsel for the publisher of Philadelphia’s largest newspapers. She came to the Foundation in 2004, drawn by what she describes as its “mission-driven approach to social change and its focus on improving health and health care for all Americans.” She views the Foundation’s law department as a “client-focused office that helps program staff structure and shape the programs that make a difference in people’s lives.” Hatton also serves as secretary to the Board of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Formerly, Hatton was vice president and general counsel of Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. (PNI), publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and philly.com, with responsibility for overseeing the legal affairs of the company, including its business and First Amendment matters. Before joining PNI in 1992, Hatton was a shareholder at the Philadelphia law firm now known as Kohn, Swift & Graf, where she focused her litigation practice on media issues, particularly First Amendment concerns. She began her career as a reporter at The Plain Dealer (Cleveland).
Hatton is the former chair of the Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, a nonprofit legal services organization that provides pro bono legal assistance to artists and cultural organizations, and has served in leadership positions and as a member of the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations. She is a 2010 recipient of the Platinum Award from the New Jersey Women Lawyers' Association and the 2004 recipient of the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association’s Benjamin Franklin Award for outstanding contributions to newspapers.
Hatton believes that her favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird, captures three important strands in her life and explains why she is so pleased to be working at the Foundation. As she notes: “The book stands for the transforming power of persuasive narratives, the compelling need to eliminate disparities based on race and ethnicity, and the crucial role lawyers play in bringing about societal change. The Foundation staff approaches the difficult issues of health and health care in America with the focus, courage, compassion, justice and passion of Atticus Finch and because we look at these problems in a broad context, we hope to have impact well beyond individual cases.”
Born in Ohio, Hatton received a JD from Case Western Reserve University, graduating with honors. She earned a master of studies in law degree from the Yale Law School and graduated with honors from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University with a BS in journalism and a BA in political science. She enjoys travel, hiking, and reading and lives in Pennington, N.J., with her husband, Richard Bilotti, retired publisher of the Trenton Times.