The passing of Ellie Garcia Kerstetter

Valued community member succumbs to long illness

Judge Ellie Kerstetter

Louis D Brandeis School of Law is deeply saddened by the loss of one of our more recent alumna at the end of September.  Ellie Garcia Kerstetter (class of 2000) was a true example of to all who wish to serve through the Law.

Kerstetter was a later arrival both to Kentucky and to the law, after a successful career in realty in Miami, FL.  Shortly after arriving in Louisville in 1996, she opted to go law school part-time here at Brandeis, working by day and studying at night.  After three and a half years, she graduated in 2000, subsequently gaining admission to the Bar in both Florida and Kentucky.

After two years working for Erwin and Associates LLC, Kerstetter founded her own practice in 2003, frequently finding time and space to work pro bono.  Her tireless advocacy on behalf of her clients was to lead to her appointment by Governor Beshear as a Jefferson County Family Court Judge in January 2020.  Her appointment made her the first Latina Judge in Kentucky.

A true exemplar of the Brandeis commitment to service, Kerstetter was heavily involved in many different causes locally.  She frequently worked to support the Center for Women and Families, Adelante Hispanic Achievers, the Domestic Violence Prevention Coordinating Council, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, the Kentucky/Indiana Hispanic Business Council, and the Racial Fairness Commission.  A role model for many, Kerstetter also received the LBA Diversity Committee’s Hispanic Trailblazer Award.

Kerstetter was also a vibrant part of the Brandeis community, too, and was an active member of the School of Law’s Alumni council, serving as president of it between January 2013 and May 2015.

Sadly this bright star in our legal firmament lost a long battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) this year on September 29th.  Her passing is a great loss to both the local Latinx and legal communities, as well as our Brandeis family.  But above all, our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.

A Celebration of Life will be held in Ellie’s honor from 3-7pm on Saturday, October 15th at La Casita Center, 223 E. Magnolia Ave., Louisville, KY 40208.