Five Questions with Sheila Kadagathur, ’05

Sheila Kadagathur

1. What is a favorite Law School memory?

There are too many to count, but some that stick out are going down the line and shaking every one of my law school classmates’ hands during orientation, study breaks with my now husband in the third-floor library carrels, and that amazing feeling of relief when I finished my 1L exams. And, of course it was pretty amazing to see then-state Senator Obama strolling around the Law School in his jeans.

2. Is there a particular course, clinic, or program that you participated in while attending the Law School, or an idea or skill, which has proven particularly helpful in your work?

“A slippery slope” and “fair is a four-letter word” are phrases that I learned in Elements with David Strauss that I still use frequently in my law practice. My husband (Jake Phillips, ’03) and I also recently found ourselves explaining to our 8 and 6 year old sons the torts concept of “you kick, you pay” that we learned from our Torts class with Saul Levmore!

3. What did you value most in your Law School professors and classmates?

The open-minded spirit of the students and faculty. I loved being in a place where people could speak their mind freely and where different ideas were respected and taken seriously.

4. What do you enjoy most about your work?

After working at a big law firm for a couple of years I transitioned to family law. I really enjoy representing individuals. I get to know a lot of great people and help them navigate through one of the hardest times in their lives.

5. Why is it important to you to support the Law School, both financially and through your volunteer work with the School’s new Women’s Leadership Network of DC?

My time at the Law School was the most intellectually exciting time in my life. It opened up so many opportunities for me professionally and socially, but most importantly I learned how to think and approach problem solving in a completely new way.

About Sheila Kadagathur

Partner, Hostetter Strent LLC


  • University of Chicago Law School, JD, 2005
  • University of Pennsylvania, BA, magna cum laude, 1999

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Maryland


  • Named one of D.C’s top family law lawyers by the Washingtonian Magazine in December 2017
  • Named by Bethesda Magazine as one of the area’s best Divorce Lawyers under 40 in 2017
  • Recognized as one of Washington D.C.’s Outstanding Young Lawyers in the Washington Post Magazine in 2013 and 2014
  • Named as a Rising Star in Washington D.C. Super Lawyers Magazine and Maryland Super Lawyers Magazine every year since 2013