Professor McLaughlin received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1990 and a B.S. honors degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1987, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar and elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
She is a member of the American Law Institute and serves as an Adviser to the Restatement of the Law, Charitable Nonprofit Organizations project. She is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and serves as co-chair of ACTEC's Legal Education Committee. She also is a member of the ABA’s Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law Section and serves as co-chair of the section's Legislative and Regulatory Committee, co-chair of the section's Legal Education and Uniform Laws Group, a member of the section’s Conservation Easement Task Force, and a professional editor of the section’s academic law journal.
Her research focuses on conservation easement, tax, and nonprofit governance issues and she writes and lectures extensively on these issues. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Utah Open Lands, a member of the Habitat Protection Advisory Committee of the Wildlife Land Trust, and a member of the Lands Protection Committee of Vital Ground, which works to protect grizzly bear habitat. She consults with land trusts, landowners, government entities, federal and state regulators, and others regarding conservation easements and nonprofit governance issues, and she blogs about conservation easement current developments on the Law Professors Nonprofit Law Blog.
Professor McLaughlin teaches Trusts & Estates, Estate Planning, Federal Income Tax, Gift & Estate Tax, Private Land Conservation, and a course on Conservation Easements.