We had the good fortune of connecting with Cassandra Kirk and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cassandra, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I am naturally curious and so risk-taking is in my DNA. If it looks impossible, it’s the task for me. Accepting the appointment to create, lead, and manage a new form of our Court was a risk, but it is a challenge I am glad I accepted. Accepting the risk showed me that every experience I’ve had was not wasted and could be preparation for my next step. As a Juvenile Court judge, I learned to be a judge – the early preparation of research and learning my case files, the coordination of parties to make court run smoothly, and how to utilize best practices in fashioning dispositions for youth and families, as well as creating the first holistic juvenile drug court in Fulton County. My role as Chief Magistrate Judge required that I acquire new skills, such as understanding the Court and its case types, identifying and implementing effective case management, and working through human resource topics, as well as brushing up on skills acquired throughout my career, such as procurement, accountability courts, and budgeting.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Serving as a Chief Judge and Interim Court Administrator is rewarding and challenging. Following the pandemic and recent civil unrest in our communities, it is important for our Justice System to be fair, accessible and our processes transparent. Often referred to as “the People’s Court,” I believe we are obligated to make Court open to the community. With a threshold for maximum recovery of $15,000, we are not a court where it is cost-effective for most people to hire a lawyer.

The Magistrate Court of Fulton County was fortunate in its formation stages to win a grant from the National Center for State Courts to create tools and increase resources for the people and communities we serve. That grant resulted in in-court videos, out-of-court videos, pamphlets, and educational tools, as well as differentiated case management so judges become experts in tracks and our parties do not stay in court all day. Additionally, each week, I am in meetings with local and national leaders on topics of interest to the communities we serve. Being in these conversations allows us to constantly tweak our Court to build a bridge with our community. It took us two years to create and fund our newest community resource, our R.E.A.C.H. (Rapid Education Assistance Court Help) Clinic, which helps self-represented litigants understand the Magistrate Court processes. It is an invaluable support and I look forward to having additional resources to help navigate our processes.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My best friend from Williams College is Ingrid Scott who teaches in the Beaufort South Carolina School system. While waiting on a class to start one day, we both recounted childhood stories our fathers told of Br’er Rabbit and the Signifying Monkey. That sealed the deal for two Southern girls who met in the mountains of Massachusetts. Ingrid has eclectic tastes and so I would ensure a little bit of spa time, a little bit of Atlanta history, a wee bit of Atlanta culture, and some adventure. We would visit Celestial Spa, The Trap House Museum and the Escape Room, the High Museum of Art, The Alliance Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Dad’s Garage, Busy Bee Café, Paschal’s, Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours, Old Lady Gang, and Historic Banning Mills for ziplining and kayaking.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Thank you for this opportunity to publicly recognize those people who have impacted my life deeply. The list is long, and I am grateful for each person God placed on my journey. The list begins with my parents (Oscar and Margaret Catchings Kirk), my grandparents (Paul and Dorothy Glaze Williams and Amos and Della Ezell Kirk), my first real boss (Arch Y. Stokes), the first person to appoint me as a judge (Judge Belinda Edwards), the people who ensured my career transitions were smooth (Judge Bradley Boyd, Omotayo Alli, Marjorie Young, and Lynne Riley), and my close friends (Dr. Rashad Richey, Laquanna “LaPink” Alexander, Joaquin Campbell, and Ingrid Scott). These are just a few and I know that all the organizations of which I have been a part have provided support and love.

Website: www.magistratefulton.org and www.judgecassandrakirk.com

Instagram: @fultonmagistrate and @keepkirkchief

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cassandra-kirk-3936912a

Twitter: @MagistrateFulCo and @KeepKirk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MagistrateCourtofFultonCounty and CassandraKirk

Image Credits
images by Brandpreneur (Nick Nelson), AivaGenys, LaPink, and Cassandra Kirk.

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