Kathleen Flaherty, J.D.

Since 2015, Kathy has served as Executive Director of Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Inc. (CLRP), a statewide non-profit agency which provides legal services to low income individuals with mental health conditions, who reside in hospitals or the community, on matters related to their treatment, recovery, and civil rights. Prior to coming to CLRP, Kathy spent 15 years as a Staff Attorney at Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut, Inc.

A graduate of Wellesley College (Class of ’88) and Harvard Law School (’94), Kathy has dedicated her professional life to advocating for the rights of the underserved. Kathy combines her personal experience as a recipient of mental health services and her legal background to speak to issues affecting those living with mental health conditions.

Kathy is the former co-chair of the Keep the Promise Coalition, a coalition of advocates (people living with mental health conditions, family members, mental health professionals and interested community members) with a vision of a state in which people with mental health conditions are able to live successfully in the community because they have access to housing and other community-based supports and services that are recovery oriented, person-driven and holistic in their approach to wellness. She is a member of the steering committee of the Connecticut Cross Disability Lifespan Alliance, an alliance of people of all ages with all disabilities who pursue a unified agenda. She served on Governor Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission (a 16-member panel of experts created by the Governor to review current policy and make specific recommendations in the areas of public safety, with particular attention paid to school safety, mental health, and gun violence prevention) and the Task Force to Improve Access to Legal Counsel in Civil Matters.

Kathy's advocacy work has earned her numerous honors including the Dr. Karen Kangas Excellence in Advocacy Award (Advocacy Unlimited (2010), the Advocate of the Year award from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law (2019), the Spirit of the ADA Award, (ADA Coalition of Connecticut), Connecticut's Stigma Buster Award (in 2001, 2006, and 2007), and more. Kathy is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers CT (the state's lawyer assistance program), and the Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement (CABLE). She is a former member of the Board of Directors of Advocacy Unlimited, Inc. Kathy currently serves on NARPA's Board of Directors.

Kathy has personal experience as a recipient of mental health services and a client of a court-appointed attorney in a civil commitment proceeding.