Katherine Hatton is vice president, general counsel and secretary of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 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 collaborates with management and staff to provide responsive, value-added, and effective solutions, with an appropriate balance of risk and reward, so the Foundation can realize its vision of building a Culture of Health.” 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).
In 2016, Hatton was named General Counsel of the Year for New Jersey nonprofits and government organizations and was inducted into the Bowling Green State University Academy of Distinguished Alumni. She also has received leadership awards from the New Jersey Women Lawyers’ Association and the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. A director of the Forum of Executive Women in Philadelphia and a member of the advisory board of DirectWomen, Hatton has long been active in nonprofit organizations. She is the former chair of the Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and served in leadership positions and as a member of the boards of numerous other national and regional nonprofit organizations.
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 Hopewell, N.J., with her husband, Richard Bilotti, retired publisher of the Trenton Times.