Judge Katarina Cook has been a proud resident of Akron and a product of the Akron Public Schools. She immigrated with her parents as a young child and after her parents divorced, she was raised by her single mother. After her mother died from cancer, Katarina graduated from Firestone High School in 1982. She earned an academic scholarship, worked and put herself through college, earning dual Bachelor of Arts Degrees in both Psychology and History. Judge Cook earned her Juris Doctorate from The University of Akron School of Law in 1990 and was admitted to the Ohio Bar that same year.
In 1993, Judge Cook joined the Stark County Prosecutor’s Office, where she specialized in the prosecution of child sex offenders and served on the Child Sex Abuse Task Force. In 1997, Judge Cook began her own law firm. During that time she continued her advocacy for abused and neglected children and was recognized by Ohio’s 123rd Congress for her outstanding work as a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) at the Summit County Juvenile Court. She was also appointed and served as a GAL in Summit County Domestic Relations Court. Judge Cook also received training in Domestic Relations Mediation and General Mediation and worked as a substitute mediator for the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. In addition, she joined a Domestic Relations Mediation group in Stark County and mediated cases in the Stark County Family Court.
In 2005, Judge Cook was appointed as the Traffic Magistrate for the Akron Municipal Court, where she presided over hundreds of trials and resolved thousands of cases.
In 2009, Judge Cook was elected Judge of the Akron Municipal Court. In addition to her regular duties, Judge Cook presided over the Drug Court and, since June of 2012, presided over OVI Court, which received certification by the Ohio Supreme Court in June 2015. Judge Cook was then re-elected in 2013. In 2016, together with Judge Jill Flagg Lanzinger of the Barberton Municipal Court, Judge Lisa Coates from the Stow Municipal Court, and the Humane Society of Greater Akron, Judge Cook began offering animal cruelty prevention classes as a sentencing option for defendants convicted of crimes involving animals under state and local laws. The class is called “Care of Animals and Abuse Prevention” (CAAP) and was designed to address the rise in the number of animal neglect and abuse cases by teaching defendants how to treat their pets appropriately.
In 2016, Judge Cook successfully ran for the open seat on the Summit County Domestic Relations Court being vacated due to Judge Dezso’s retirement. She was sworn in on January 5, 2017.
Outside of the courtroom, Judge Cook was a member of the 23rd Class of the Child and Family Leadership Exchange, graduating in 2018. She has been active in the Ohio Women’s Bar Association (OWBA), serving as an At-Large Trustee. She is also on the Ohio Supreme Court Court Security and Specialized Dockets Committees. Locally, she has been very involved with the Akron Bar Association’s Street Law Program, where she has served as either chair or vice-chair from 2006 to 2014. Judge Cook has also served as chair of the Municipal Courts Committee, and was co-chair of the Mock Trial Committee. Judge Cook is also a Bencher in the Scanlon/Bell Inns of Court, and has presented on various topics before attorneys, judges, and law students. Judge Cook joined the Summit County Collaborative Against Human Trafficking, and volunteered her time speaking at seminars and at community outreach events. She continues to volunteer her time judging mock trial competitions.
From 2006 to 2018, Judge Cook was known as "Coach" to a middle school mock trial team at her children’s school, where she thoroughly enjoyed encouraging young students to participate in law-related education. In 2016-2017, she coached St. Vincent St. Mary’s High School Mock Trial Team. She has been a room mom for each of her sons.
Judge Cook is a community volunteer, serving on numerous boards, including the Friends of Hower House and Cascade Park Locks Association, GASP (Guardians Against Sexual Predators), Love Akron and IBH. She has also served on the boards for the Preservation Alliance of Akron, Akron Child Guidance Center Women’s Board, and the first Summit County Juvenile Court CASA Board. She is a member of the Junior League of Akron and WITAN (Women In Touch with Akron’s Needs). An avid gardener, Judge Cook is a Summit County Master Gardener and is a member of the Akron Garden Club.
Judge Katarina Cook is a devoted wife and mother to four sons.