Professional Experience

Ms. Gilliam-Cathcart’s practice primarily focuses on conducting investigations concerning claims of discrimination and retaliation, and representing independent and public schools (and other public entities) in a wide range of civil litigation matters pending in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies, with an emphasis on employment-based claims.  She also regularly trains and presents to employers on civil rights compliance and employment best practices.

Ms. Gilliam-Cathcart has practiced in Washington for the past seven years following a move from the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where her practice extended to all aspects of civil litigation before the Federal District and Territorial Courts in defense of corporate clients in varying tort and employment matters.  Representative clients included Sears Holdings, RadioShack and refinery HOVENSA, L.L.C. Prior to her work in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Ms. Gilliam-Cathcart served almost two years as a Staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and also worked for the Office of the City Attorney for the City of Berkeley.


  • United States District Court of the Virgin Islands
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of California
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Washington
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • Washington State Court of Appeals
  • Washington State Bar
  • California State Bar


  • Association of Workplace Investigators Certificate Holder, Association of Workplace Investigations, 2020

Volunteer Board Service

  • Member of Board of Directors, Washington State Council of School Attorneys, 2019-2022
  • Member of Board of Directors, Washington Initiative for Diversity, 2017-2020
  • Past Member of Board of Trustees, Giddens School

Professional Memberships

  • Washington State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Loren Miller Bar Association
  • Washington Defense Trial Lawyers Diversity Committee
  • Washington State Council of School Attorneys
  • Association of Workplace Investigators


  • Risk & Compliance: Everyday Bias and Liability, NetAssets Magazine (NBOA publication, July 2020)
  • Microaggressions is Liability by a Thousand Cuts, joint presentation at the National Business Officers Association Annual Conference (February 2020)
  • Student Protest: Working with Youth Change Agents to Foster Activism While Balancing and Managing Risk, joint presentation at the People of Color Conference, National Association of Independent Schools (December 2019
  • Moderator, Diversity and Inclusion in Hiring, Recruitment and Retention of Legal Professionals (May 2019 Washington Initiative for Diversity)
  • Internal v. Independent Investigations (Spring 2019 Helsell Fetterman Employment Breakfast)
  • Lessons Learned from Student Activism in School Year 2017-18 (October 2018 NAIS/TABS Legal Symposium)
  • Paid Family Medical Leave (Fall 2018 Helsell Fetterman Employment Breakfast)
  • #MeToo: Receiving, Responding To, and Recovering After, Sexual Harassment Complaints (Spring 2018 Helsell Fetterman Employment Breakfast)
  • State and Local Safety Laws and Workplace Violence (Fall 2017 Helsell Fetterman Employment Breakfast)
  • Panelist, Women, Race, and Age: Mitigating Bias and Misogyny in the Legal Profession (September 2016 Washington State Bar Association)
  • Office for Civil Rights Complaints and Title IX Compliance, October 2015, a joint presentation at the Washington Schools Personnel Association and Washington Schools Risk Management Pool Law Conference.
  • Leave Laws: Interplay between Washington State and Federal Laws, May 2015, a presentation for the 35th Annual Labor Relations Institute for the Association of Washington Cities.
  • “Hiring Smart’, October 2014, a presentation for the Washington Association of County Officials.

Content by Onik’a Gilliam-Cathcart

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