Law teacher returns to the legal field


D'Shalon Williams

Robyn Katz and the Mock Trial team pose for a group photo before her departure.

Brenda Amaya-Rangel, News Editor

Criminal justice teacher Robyn Katz recently resigned from her position at Akins after accepting a job to work as an assistant district attorney in Comal County.

Katz, who holds a law degree and had previously worked as an attorney, taught law classes at Akins for just over two and half years. She lead the Law Internship program, which allowed students to work with area judges as well as compete in the state mock trial competitions.

The Akins Mock Trial team took first place in the regional tournament during both years, Katz was the sponsor and adviser of the team.

The Eagle’s Eye sat down for an interview with Katz before she left on February 21.

Eagle’s Eye: What has changed in the law program since you started here?

Robyn Katz: I think I was able to recruit students who are even more dedicated than last year’s students. Students who have a passion for not only the field of law but who also have the integrity and ethics that are needed to be successful in any career. We have also made more connections with Teen Court with the City of Austin and the law students are able to actually handle actual court cases and network with more attorneys than previously.

EE: What has been your proudest moment as you have seen the law program grow and achieve success?

Katz: I think my proudest moment was this year when I told the students that we didn’t have practice over Christmas break. And the students actually flipped out because normally they would be excited that we wouldn’t have practice, but they were flipping out because they were so concerned that they were not going to be prepared for mock trial and the state competition that they actually wanted to practice over Christmas break. It was interesting to see the shift in the motivation from last year’s students to this year’s students because this year’s students really wanted it badly and they worked so well together so it made this year so easy for me because they sort of took control of the internship themselves and I was just there sort of as a guide.

EE: Why did you decide you needed to return to the legal field?

Katz: It definitely wasn’t because of my students — especially this year I have the most amazing law and correction interns that I’ve ever met and my other students from my classes are also phenomenal and they have my information and I am going to keep in touch with them. I just really think that I miss being in the courtroom and I felt like with the political constraints in public education and administration I don’t know how much more I can do with this school. I feel like my passion and my efforts would be more appreciated and would do more if I were working for the county prosecuting.  

EE: What will happen to the law internship after you leave, will it continue on until next year?

Katz: I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that my juniors who know me and were thinking about being in the law internship can call me at anytime and I can set them up with other attorneys or the DA’s office on their own. I will have them partner with Hays High School for mock trial and I will be available to my kids who partner with Hays High School on the weekends and after I get back from work.

EE: If the internship continues on to next year will the students participate in mock trial?

Katz: If they want to they certainly can. It might be more difficult unless there is an attorney here woking it. It’s a combination of whether the attorney who’s the teacher who wants to hold practices on the weekends and has as high expectations as I had for the students. Because really the reason we got first place two years in a row is because of the amount of time we put into it and it wasn’t just during the day we practice at night on the weekends and whoever takes over has to realize that they are not going to get paid for a lot of the time that they are here. They need to want to do it for the kids and it’s a lot of time away from family and friends and weekends are taken up. But like I said I have spoken to Hays High School and they are more than happy to take some Akins kids on their team

EE: Do you have any parting advice for your law students or words you want to share with the campus community?

Katz: Don’t take the easiest road. Don’t take the road that has the easiest teachers, the teachers that hand hold you everywhere you go; who spoon feed you information. Don’t sell yourself short. You are all incredibly intelligent people, I can speak for at least my law interns and corrections students. If someone tell you to apply to certain colleges because that’s all they think you can get into because they want the school to look good. Think about broadening the spectrum and think about other schools that you want to go for you. Don’t worry so much about the cost of education but get the best education that you can get wherever you can get it. Your first year is going to be the most important year in college, where you meet all of your friends stay on campus stay in the dorms and most of all if any of my students are told to take the easy road or to apply to XYZ college because ‘That’s what this sheet of paper says,’ they should apply to and they think back to what I told them. They have a question about that they can always call me and count on me to help them walk them through applying to different schools, filling out FAFSA forms, scholarship forms, writing them recommendations and getting them into a school that are right for them.