By: Leslie Lawson
Katherine Kudriashova Martin is a Managing Director at Rock Creek Global Advisors, a boutique consulting firm in Washington, DC. While her current position may seem a long way from her birth and early life in Kyiv, Ukraine, very clear threads of her personal interests in economics, policy, and United States interaction in global fora, emerge as she tells her story. Together, these interests have led her to an exciting and fulfilling career encompassing the private and public sectors.
Katherine immigrated with her family to the Syracuse area when she was seventeen. They settled into their new lives in Upstate New York while her father worked at Syracuse University. She attended Syracuse University and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Economics. While completing her undergraduate degree, Katherine was intrigued by the law and took advantage of the 3+3 program of accelerated bachelor’s degree and JD study. Through this program, Katherine’s fourth year of undergraduate classes served as her first year of law school classes. She felt this program was a low stakes way to see if a career in the law was for her. If she liked it, she was a year ahead of her peers, but if she did not enjoy it, she could pursue a career in economics.
She need not have feared that she would dislike studying law, however. She loved it. She liked the small classes and atmosphere of the Syracuse University College of Law (SUCOL) and developed lifelong friendships. At SUCOL, Katherine developed her interest in international law and credits the late Donna Arzt for sparking her interest in this area. She participated in the International Moot Court and was a Teaching Assistant for Professor Arzt during her 3L year. In her Torts class, Professor Peter Bell also piqued Katherine’s interest in the policy considerations behind the law, a topic she would come to find so much more interesting than the typical day-to-day micro business decisions that occur in the private sector. This became another thread that wove its way through her career.
Clearly a motivated and talented student, Katherine was invited to join Law Review, and chose to write her note on environmental refugees and international law. Considering she wrote her note years before climate change and climate migration entered the global conversation, Katherine was very prescient in the choice of her note topic. Katherine went on to serve as an Executive Editor as a 3L and says being on Law Review made her realize that attention to detail is very important as a lawyer. Katherine graduated magna cum laude from SUCOL in 1999.
Katherine’s Law Review experience helped distinguish her at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, the first firm she worked for after law school. As she began her legal career, Katherine did not know what she wanted to do with her interests in economics, international law, and policy. But these interests pulled her to the next stage of her career as she moved from Big Law to government service at the United States Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). At the SEC, she held various positions over the course of over a decade.
From 2015 to 2021, Katherine was the Associate Director in the Office of International Affairs, where she oversaw the International Regulatory Policy and Supervisory Cooperation Program. In this role, Katherine led the SEC’s multilateral and bilateral engagement and advised the Commission on a wide range of cross-border regulatory policy and supervisory cooperation issues. She found government service to be sometimes frustrating, but fascinating and rewarding work. She believes there is great value in having both public and private sector experience as they are very complementary and encourages law students and recent graduates to seek both types of legal experience.
Motivated to continue to grow and develop, Katherine moved to her current position as a Managing Director of Rock Creek Global Advisors, an international economic policy advisory firm. There, she focuses on international financial regulatory, sustainability, digital assets, and other economic policy matters. She advises multinational companies and financial institutions on developments in key financial markets and matters arising in global forums and US bilateral dialogues with the EU, UK, and other jurisdictions. While she says her current position is not “traditional” legal work, it blends her economic, international, and policy interests beautifully. She enjoys assisting clients in identifying and adapting to the macro-level shifts in global economic development and policy.
Ever willing to share her wisdom and experience with SUCOL, Katherine facilitated the August 2022 discussion with SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce regarding digital assets’ development, regulation, and enforcement. This discussion was part of Professor Jack Graves’s week-long advanced legal topic residency seminar on Crypto and Digital Assets. Katherine wishes there had been a crypto class at SUCOL when she was a student, and she encourages all current students to take advantage of cutting-edge courses when offered.
Katherine advises SUCOL students to “enjoy this time of your life. It is stressful, but in retrospect, remember that it is a luxury to be able to learn the law and be a part of a terrific law school.” She continues to appreciate her professors at Syracuse, her experience as a law student, as well as the relationships she built with classmates, and hopes current students will feel the same way when they look back on their SUCOL experiences.