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Katherine C. Pearson

Katherine Pearson
(717) 240-5219
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J.D., University of Miami
B.A., University of Arizona

Professor Katherine Pearson is a scholar of legal issues facing older adults, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to elder care. Her recent scholarship focuses on protection of older adults, regulation of continuing care retirement and life care communities, and public and private obligations under filial support laws. She is also an affiliated faculty member of the John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence at Penn State University.

A 2009-2010 Fulbright scholar, Professor Pearson was the Petersen Visiting Scholar in Gerontology and Family Studies at Oregon State University and a scholar in residence at Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland, where she conducted interdisciplinary research. She was awarded a 2012 research grant by the Borchard Foundation.

Professor Pearson uses her background as a practicing attorney, with experience in jury trials, to inform her teaching, including classes on evidence, non-profit organizations, and contracts. Her international work includes courses on cross-border family law and comparative social security policies. Professor Pearson created and directed the Elder Protection Clinic, which operated from 2001 to 2012, providing students with opportunities for "first chair" representation of older adults on cutting edge legal issues.

Books and Book Chapters

The Law of Financial Abuse and Exploitation (with Trisha Cowart) (Bisel Publishing, 2011)

“Filial Support Obligations in Pennsylvania Adult Children, Parents, and Spouses,” in Elder Law in Pennsylvania (Jeffrey Marshall, ed., 3d ed. 2011)


A Review of the Adult Safeguarding Framework in Northern Ireland, the UK, Ireland and Internationally,” commissioned by Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland (January 2014) (with co-authors and researchers on team headed by Dr. Janet Carter Anand, Principal Investigator, Queen’s University Belfast)

Selected Journal Articles

Capacity, Conflict, and Change: Elder Law and Estate Planning Themes in an Aging World,” 117 Penn State L. Rev. 979 (2013)(Introduction to Symposium Issue)

Filial Support Laws in the Modern Era: Domestic and International Comparison of Enforcement Practices for Laws Requiring Adult Children to Support Indigent Parents,” 20 Elder Law Journal 269 (2013)

“Older People and Legal Advice: The Need for Joined Up and Creative Approaches,” UK Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law (with J. Duffy & S. Basu), Vol. 34, No. 1. (2012), pp 31-47

Will Continuing Care Retirement Communities Continue?” 82 Pa. B. Quarterly 69 (2011) (with Joshua Wilkins) (Symposium on the Future of Elder Law)

The Lesson of the Irish Family Pub: The Elder Law Clinic Path to a More Thoughtful Practice,” 40 Stetson L. Rev237 (Fall 2010, Elder Law Symposium Issue)

The Responsible Thing to do About “Responsible Party” Provisions in Nursing Home Agreements: A Proposal for Change on Three Fronts, 37 U. Mich. J. Law Reform 757 (No. 3, 2004)