Katie Norton – ASRC Federal Holding Company

The paths less followed

It’s a career path that runs from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to above the Arctic Circle—with a cameo on the “Jimmy Fallon Show” thrown in for good measure—but Katie Norton says it’s not hard to follow.

“There’s a lot about my story that’s nontraditional in the legal industry,” she says. “I wasn’t a person who went to law school right out of college. I went at night while working full time.”

Katie Norton – ASRC Federal Holding Company Vanguard Law Magazine

Now, as the deputy general counsel for ASRC Federal Holding Company LLC, Norton manages a gamut-spanning docket of legal affairs for a family of companies delivering engineering, information technology, infrastructure support, and professional and technical services to U.S. civil, defense and intelligence agencies.

ASRC Federal Holding Company is the government services subsidiary of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, an Alaska Native corporation owned by approximately 13,000 Iñupiat shareholders.

“Our company represents the businesses interests of an entire people and contributes to sustaining a culture and a way of life,” Norton explains.

Of exports and talk shows

ASRC Federal’s work with NASA is part of its diverse approach to ensuring it provides sustainable returns to its shareholders, which is an ever-growing population.

Within that framework, Norton now works with agencies beyond NASA supported by the ASRC Federal family and myriad export rules she cut her teeth on.

Katie Norton – ASRC Federal Holding Company Vanguard Law Magazine

“I’m a fairly new lawyer, so every issue that comes my way is a challenge in its own way, and the government contracts field is very complex and highly regulated,” she says. “One person cannot solve every problem. It takes a team to manage the contracts and deliver to the customers.”

Norton’s career at ASRC Federal began in 2009 when she was assigned a position as an export compliance analyst, assisting NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in complying with U.S. export regulations.

Located in Greenbelt, Maryland, Goddard’s purview includes the Hubble Space Telescope and managing communications with the International Space Center. The Center will soon be operating the James Webb Space Telescope.

“I really enjoyed working with engineers and scientists, my whole family are engineers,” Norton says.

Before items are cleared for launch, they undergo a final inspection in a Center cleanroom. It was here Norton got eyes-on experience as a cleanroom photographer; something she says helps her understand the technical details engineers described to her as part of her export compliance work.

It was the deeper looks into space that led to Norton’s appearance in a sketch on Jimmy Fallon’s show detailing NASA’s work on the Hubble Space Telescope.

“NASA has such an amazing mission with so many passionate employees and contractors,” Norton says. “It was wonderful getting to participate in a sketch that helped people understand something about NASA’s story in such a fun, youthful way.”

Filling a deeper need

Her export compliance analysis work with NASA piqued Norton’s interest in law school, she says, because a law degree would leverage how she could work with tech companies.

“Most of the engineers I worked with were frustrated by export control regulations and I was able to translate the complex regulations into something that was both understandable and implementable for a technical program,” Norton says.

While interested in law school, Norton was as committed to getting her degree on her own terms, attending the University of Maryland Law School in Baltimore at night—after her 9-5. But while the schedule prevented her from participating in moot courts and law reviews, the experience proved a formative one.

“I went at night, graduated in three years. I did that because I had a job opportunity,” Norton says.

Her pragmatic approach to debt played a role in how she earned her Juris Doctor in 2015.

“I was hyper-aware of law school costs. I was never going to take the chance of not having a job and $150,000 in law school loans,” she says.

Practical approaches

Norton’s pragmatism is deeply rooted to her upbringing in Annapolis, Maryland. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., on a lacrosse scholarship, where she never missed a game. As her graduation approached, so did the 2008 recession. While she recalls others losing job opportunities for economic reasons, she had landed a post as a project analyst for the U.S. Department of State. After a year there, she joined ASRC Federal.

Norton is married and has two children. She was five months pregnant with her first child when she took the bar exam in Maryland, and gave birth the day she was due to be sworn in as a member of the Maryland bar.

Katie Norton – ASRC Federal Holding Company Vanguard Law Magazine

“I called the court to reschedule it before even letting my mom know I was in labor,” she recalls.

Named a corporate counsel in 2015 at ASRC Federal, Norton says the job gives her a needed work-family balance.

“I really enjoy the culture of our company,” Norton says. “It is so different than my experience in other places; very focused on core values about community, teamwork and family, and to me that is really important.”

Published on: August 26, 2019


categories: ,

Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vanguard” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.


As promised in advance, my feature in Vanguard has increased my visibility within the profession and prompted more than a few people I have not communicated with recently to reconnect. One of the Italian law firms I have used in the past is now in the process of interviewing me for an article on their website and tweeting out the feature story. Activity and the number of people connecting with me on LinkedIn has soared, which is great. The Vanguard writers and editorial staff were great to work with—highly professional and made the effort to make the experience both fun and rewarding (they were also respectful of the time pressures and demands all lawyers face). I was very pleased with the experience and the final outcome. Needless to say, I have been very pleased. All in all working with Vanguard has been a very positive experience which generated good publicity for both Shawcor and myself. My sincere thanks.
– Tim Hutzul, General Counsel, ShawCor Ltd.
It was a great honor to be featured in Vanguard Law. Working with every member of the team, from the initial interview with Erin Clark, through production with Victor Martins, writing the article with Taryn Plumb and creating the final content with Dave Gushee, was a true pleasure. Everyone was very professional, enthusiastic and supportive, and their creative approach and positive attitude clearly came through in the final product.
– Kevin C. Rakowski, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Compliance with Radian Group Inc.
The piece highlighting my company, Bob Baker Enterprises, Inc., came out fabulous. Our company is in the new and used car sales and service industry. Everyone was great to work with and extremely professional. They produced a high-quality product and have provided expert assistance and guidance post-production of the article.
– Wade Poulson, General Counsel, Bob Baker Enterprises Inc.
I was honored to be the subject of an article. I enjoy reading Vanguard articles and seeing how other attorneys got to their positions and see their jobs. It's also interesting to see how different law firms partner with the subjects of the articles.
– Henry Marquard, in-house counsel, Stanley Consultants Inc.


Summer I 2024



  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.