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Christine McLeod Pate

Legal Program Director, Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Christine McLeod Pate (she/her) has been working to protect the rights of survivors of gender-based violence for over 30 years. She currently serves as the Legal Program Director for the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (ANDVSA), Alaska’s 24-member dual coalition on domestic and sexual violence, where she has worked for the last 25 years.

Christine earned her undergraduate degree in International Relations from Tufts University, magna cum laude, and her JD, cum laude, from NYU School of Law, where she was awarded the Ann Petluck Poses Award for her third-year clinical work defending parents accused of abuse and neglect in New York City family court.

Following a judicial clerkship in Alaska, Christine served as a staff attorney for Alaska Legal Services (ALSC) in Fairbanks, Alaska, where she represented clients in Fairbanks and the many smaller villages in interior Alaska.  Her caseload included trial and appellate advocacy in family violence and tribal sovereignty matters. She left ALSC to lead a domestic and sexual violence program in Southeast Alaska, where she learned the fundamentals of grassroots advocacy for survivors.  She was hired by ANDVSA in 1999, where she developed Alaska’s first statewide civil legal program specifically for survivors of gender-based violence.

Christine has been involved in litigation, legislative, and appellate work at ANDVSA, in addition to education and training for advocates and attorneys.  As the Legal Program Director, she manages ANDVSA’s direct services program, providing statewide legal assistance to survivors through a hybrid of staff, volunteer, and contract attorneys.  Over the last 25 years she has trained and mentored hundreds of attorneys to provide trauma-informed work to survivors.  Under her leadership, these pro bono volunteers have donated millions of dollars in legal services to Alaska survivors through representation in court.  For the last 15 years she has also managed ANDVSA’s statewide legal training and technical assistance to advocates, developing multiple resources to improve advocates’ understanding of the justice system, including co-authoring the Women’s Legal Rights Handbook and the ANDVSA’s Model Confidentiality Policy.  Pate also has co-authored many attorney resources including a treatise on family law. 

Christine has successfully litigated several cases before the Alaska Supreme Court to protect survivors’ rights in both the criminal and civil context, including cases involving custodial rights to children and advancing the right to counsel in civil cases.  She has testified numerous times before the Alaska Legislature and advocated for bills to promote increased access to justice and to protect survivors’ rights to privacy, autonomy, and safety.

For many years Christine has provided national training to civil legal attorneys and advocates through the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence, the Muskie Institute, and the Battered Women’s Justice Project. She is a 2003 recipient of the Alaska Bar Association’s Robert Hickerson Award for outstanding dedication and legal services to indigent individuals, a 2004 Sitka Woman of the Year, and a 2020 recipient of the Alaska Bar Foundation Jay Rabinowitz Award for Commitment to Public Service. In 2011, she was honored to be adopted in the Sik'nax.ádi Clan, Eagle moiety of the Tlingit nation.