Katie A. Ahern

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Katie A. AhernDirector of the Business Start-up ClinicAssistant Professor of Law

Contact Information

401-276-4880kahern@rwu.eduCurriculum Vitae


LL.M., Boston University School of Law
J.D., Roger Williams University School of Law
B.S., University of Rhode Island

Katie Ahern leads the school's Business Start-up Clinic which serves nonprofit and small business clients. Students in the clinic learn substantive business lawyering skills, work directly with clients, and interact with the Rhode Island nonprofit and small business community.

Prof. Ahern was previously an associate at Hinckley, Allen & Snyder, where her legal practice focused in all areas of federal, state, and local tax matters affecting businesses, individuals, governmental entities, and tax-exempt organizations. Her research and analysis of client tax issues includes those surrounding formation, ongoing operations, and winding up of an organization, application for tax-exempt status of an organization, ongoing tax-exempt organization requirements, tax-exempt bond issuances, and state and local tax requirements. She has regularly published and presented on a variety of tax, business, and nonprofit law concepts.

Prof. Ahern previously served as a legal intern and later an associate in corporate and tax law at Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers, P.C. in Boston; as a legal intern at PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP; and as a legal, investor relations and international tax intern at Hasbro, Inc.

Prof. Ahern also teaches business-law related classes at the University of Rhode Island and has served on the board and as President of the Rhode Island Women’s Bar Association. She is an active member of the Rhode Island bar and an inactive member of the Massachusetts bar. She is a 2011 recipient of the Providence Business News Forty Under 40 award and a 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Star.

Courses Taught

LAW.869Business Startup Clinic

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Feinstein Center for Pro Bono & Experiential Education

Course Description

The Roger Williams University Community Economic Development Clinic, our newest clinical offering, is scheduled to open in the fall semester of 2013. The focus of the clinic will be to provide services to small, low-income and start-up businesses and not-for-profit organizations in Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts. Students enrolled in the clinic will work with small business owners in determining and facilitating their legal needs. This will include selecting the best legal entity, assisting with the filing of organizational documents, creating agreements, and drafting leases and other contracts. The primary goal of the clinic will be to teach the practice of transactional lawyering while providing service to under-served entrepreneurs and organizations.

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Course Credits


Course Degree

Juris Doctor


LAW.635 – Business Organizations

Faculty Associated

Katie A. Ahern

LAW.756Transactional Lawyering and Contract Drafting

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Course Description

This course teaches all of the foundational skills of transactional lawyering, from advising and counseling business clients to the highest professional and ethical standards, to analyzing and drafting contracts to reflect the parties’ deal, objectives, and concerns. Students learn to understand a transaction through both its legal and business issues. In learning the process of drafting a contract, students learn to understand a client’s deal and then translate the deal into contract concepts that become the building blocks of the contract. Through exercises, simulations, and projects, students then learn to draft clear, careful, unambiguous provisions in a well-organized, readable, complete contract. Students learn how to add value to the contracted deal by drafting language or structuring the deal so that it shifts the risk levels for each party. Students also learn the art of analyzing, reviewing and commenting on drafted contracts using current practices and technologies. The class involves group exercises, simulations, and role play, as well as lecture. The type of contracts covered are relevant to most transactional law practices.

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Course Credits


Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law
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Course Types

We have classified RWU Law classes under the following headers. One of the following course types will be attached to each course which will allow students to narrow down their search while looking for classes.

Core Course

Students in the first and second year are required to take classes covering the following aspects of the law—contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law, evidence, and professional responsibility.  Along with these aspects, the core curriculum will develop legal reasoning skills.


After finishing the core curriculum the remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through upper level elective courses.  Students can choose courses that peak their interests or courses that go along with the track they are following.


Seminars are classes where teachers and small groups of students focus on a specific topic and the students complete a substantial research paper.


Inhouse Clinics and Clinical Externships legal education is law school training in which students participate in client representation under the supervision of a practicing attorney or law professor.  RWU Law's Clinical Programs offer unique and effective learning opportunities and the opportunity for practical experience while still in law school.