Judge Katarina Cook is a proud resident of Akron and a product of the Akron Public Schools. She graduated from Firestone High School in 1982 and went on to earn 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 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, serving the community until 2009.
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, from June 2012 until December 2016, 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.
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.
Soon after starting her term at Domestic Relations Court, she participated in the Child and Family Leadership Exchange, graduating class XXIII.
In November of 2019, Judge Cook created the Family Recovery Court Program, which is a voluntary court program that provides parents a support framework when dealing with the effects of chemical dependency and/or mental health issues. The program celebrated its first graduation ceremony in September of 2021. Judge Cook became the administrative judge in January 2021.
Outside of the courtroom Judge Cook has been active in the Ohio Women’s Bar Association (OWBA), serving as an At-Large Trustee. Locally, she has been very involved with the Akron Bar Association’s Family Law Section, and frequently is a speaker for the Bernie Rosen Seminar. Judge Cook has also been active in Akron Bar’s Street Law Program, where she served as either chair or vice-chair from 2006 to 2014. Judge Cook 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, volunteering her time speaking at seminars and at community outreach events. She is also a member of the AFCC (Association of Family and Conciliation Courts) and the Center for Principled Family Advocacy.
From 2006 to 2018, Judge Cook has been 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, taking the team to the state quarter finals. She has also been a room mom for each of her sons.
Judge Cook is a community volunteer, and has served on numerous boards, including IBH, Cascade Park Locks Association, Friends of Hower House, Preservation Alliance of Akron, Akron Child Guidance Center Women’s Board, the first Summit County Juvenile Court CASA Board, Junior League of Akron, GASP (Guardians Against Sexual Predators), and Love Akron. She is currently an active member of WITAN. 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.