A Long and Distinguished Career Advancing Women’s Rights

A public-interest attorney, journalist, and entrepreneurial  leader, Kolbert has been recognized by The National Law Journal as one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.” In 1992, Kolbert made her second appearance before the High Court, arguing Planned Parenthood v. Casey.  This landmark case has been widely credited with saving Roe v. Wade with what CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin has called "one of the most audacious litigation strategies in Supreme Court history.”  

Founder of the Athena Center for leadership studies at Barnard College

In June, 2018, Kolbert retired from her position as the Constance Hess Williams ’66 Director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, an interdisciplinary center dedicated to the advancement of women’s leadership, which she founded in 2009.  She was also a Professor of Leadership Studies and the Co-Founder of the Athena Film Festival. She is continuing to serve as the Producing Director of the Athena Film Festival and is consulting on executive management and program development with non-profits, universities, and start-ups.

A public-interest attorney, journalist, and entrepreneurial  leader

Prior to coming to Barnard, Kolbert served as the President and CEO of People for the American Way and its Foundation, two of the nation’s premier civil rights organizations.  From 1998-2008, she oversaw a program on law and American life at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center where she was the executive producer of NPR’s Justice Talking, an award-winning radio program distributed to 125+ stations across the globe and its companion website,

From 1992 to 1997, directed domestic litigation and public policy programs for the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she was a co-founder and vice president. She also served as the State Coordinating Counsel of the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project and as a Staff Attorney with both the Women's Law Project and Community Legal Services. 

Kolbert graduated cum laude from Temple University School of Law, and received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University’s School of Arts and Sciences.

Consulting, writing, and public speaking on Reproductive Rights, Constitutional Law, and Women’s Leadership

Kolbert has lectured at colleges and universities across the nation and is a frequent commentator on constitutional and women’s rights issues in the national media. She currently serves on the Board of Vote Run Lead.

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