Professor Kavanaugh was the executive director of the Employment Justice Center from 2011 to 2015, and is now researching the relationships between workers centers and legal programs. She also works as an interim executive director in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

As the Executive Director of the Employment Justice Center, Professor Kavanaugh and the EJC staff served thousands of low-wage workers through expanded clinic programs and litigation. The EJC also supported the development of El Comite Trabajadores, a group of Spanish-speaking workers activists and advocates.

Before joining the Employment Justice Center, Professor Kavanaugh lived and worked in Buffalo NY for 30 years. She provided civil representation to low-income clients at Neighborhood Legal Services. Although she specialized in landlord-tenant and housing discrimination work, Professor Kavanaugh worked in all areas of civil poverty law including family, public benefits, consumer and special education. While supervising NLS’ housing unit, she was lead counsel in Comer v. Cisneros, 37 F.3d 775 (2d Cir. 1994), a challenge to race-based discrimination in public and subsidized housing in and around Buffalo N.Y.

Professor Kavanaugh also served three years as a City Councilmember-at-large in Buffalo. An outspoken advocates for the arts, and public art, Professor Kavanaugh also helped to pass living wage and landlord licensing legislation in Buffalo NY.  Recognizing that Buffalo is a waterfront city, Professor Kavanaugh also passed set-back and easement policies to protect and maintain public access to the water.

Professor Kavanaugh also served in appointed office as the Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the New York State Attorney General’s office, and as law clerk to the Honorable John F. O’Donnell, J.S.C. Judge O’Donnell was at that time the first judge to preside over the Erie County, N.Y., Integrated Domestic Violence Court.