( ENSPIRE Feature ) Alexis for District Court Judge Provides Services Through Pandemic
ENSPIRE Contributor: Katie Doherty
The most important reason to vote for judges is that our judicial system is based upon a judge. They are in charge of deciding the meaning of laws, how to apply them to real situations, and whether a law breaks the rules of the Constitution. It’s necessary to vote for judges during primary elections because they are a key component to representing people’s voices and beliefs. Kathy-Ann Alexis believes in this as well and that’s why she’s running for judge.
If you can vote in the primary election in 2022, it’s important to know of some candidates. Alexis, who is a candidate for Jefferson County District Court Judge, Place 10 in the Bessemer Division, has years of experience that make her qualified. Not only has she served as a Special Sitting Judge since 2019, but she also presided over both the domestic relations docket and the small claims and district civil docket. Alexis will be one of the candidates featured in the Democratic Primary Elections in May 2022.
Attorney Alexis earned a degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She went on to earn her Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. Flash forward to 2012, she earned her Master of Laws degree in International Tax and Finance from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Cum Laude, with a Certificate in Compliance and Risk Management. She also successfully completed a Women’s Leadership Course at Harvard University.
Not only is she qualified in her education to become the District Court Judge, she also has years of experience as an attorney. This ranges from her legal career as a defense attorney, being promoted to Special Prosecutor, and then to Special Judge. She also simultaneously worked on the Defense Council in Bessemer Municipal Court, to City Prosecutor, and City Court Appellate Prosecutor. Currently, her firm law practice, The Alexis Firm, focuses on family law and helps to serve and guide families through their personal difficulties.
Kathy-Ann was the first African American woman to serve as President of the Bessemer Bar Association. In doing so, it brought unique challenges because of the pandemic. She worked hard to keep in touch with members and others, all of which led to a spur in membership. Through it all, she has worked to keep attorneys and clients safe by informing them of updates on innovations and new technologies used in courts and the legal profession.
Alexis has this to say on why to vote for her for District Court judge: “I understand that most individuals are facing delicate and challenging situations when they come to court, so as your next District Judge, I will work to make everyone’s experience as positive as possible. I will make sure everyone is heard and is treated with fairness, compassion, and respect, regardless of whether they have an attorney.
I will never lose sight of the fact that being a Judge is an enormous matter of trust and responsibility. I will exercise Judicial temperance on and off the bench and stay connected to the communities I am charged to serve. My experiences as an attorney, mother, and community volunteer have prepared me for this opportunity to serve as your District Court Judge.”
ENSPIRE spoke with Kathy-Ann Alexis about future goals and what inspires her.
Who or what are your role models?
My ultimate role model is my grandmother, who taught herself how to read when being taken out of school, as a little girl, to raise her younger brothers. Naturally, she raised my mother, who worked four jobs to keep a meal on the table for the family. I remember that even though there was an MTA strike, my mother walked to work, almost the length of Manhattan, to take care of her family. So every step she took, inspired me to step into my future.
How did you find the inspiration and motivation to continue pursuing an education and career in legal services?
When I went through my divorce, we lost everything. My two young daughters looked up at me, hungry, needing medical services in the thousands and a roof. One of my daughters asked, “Why is this a house of struggle?” I told them, if it took my last breath, I would make it better. So I kept pushing, kept studying, kept trying until I became an attorney.
If you have any advice to those looking to pursue a law degree, what would it be and why?
Do it! Call me! Find a mentor! Be around anything legal. Intern for a court, work around a judge, be around a court program. The more you are around it, the more you smell it, eat it, taste it, say it, choke on it, inhale it and think about it. Let it confuse you and let it consume you, then when that, ‘ah ha’ moment happens and you will not just practice it… but be it! Oh yeah, apply to law school.
What are your goals for the future? What do you hope to achieve as Jefferson County District Court Judge?
The sky’s the limits and I am still figuring that out. I am still a writer, so I would love to consult on the arts, in a way that shows the court’s respect. I love the government, so I would love to help recommend to the White House a way to get stimulus help for litigants who need additional services for court. As District Court Judge, I’d like to do a mentoring program for students interested in being an attorney.
I don’t think it is robbery to dedicate one weekend a month, talking to the youth about how to dress for court, how to ask for help, and how to stand up for themselves in court, respectfully. I would also like to partner with job training programs and schools, to help divorced parents get additional educational and professional training, to help themselves and their families. Parents who are better at taking care of themselves, are usually better parents. Finally, partner with some seniors who can help provide aftercare services, for parents that need help, so those parents don’t end up in contempt of court.
If you had a conversation with your younger self, what would you say to her and why? What advice would you have for your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to stop worrying so much, stop doubting herself so much and stop thinking she failed, at 7 years old. I would tell her that while a door closes, it doesn’t mean it’s locked; and being invisible to other people, is a great skill to use to walk through those same doors. I would tell her that being a nerd will one day be sexy and en vogue. I would tell her to find her voice and live like no one is looking, jump over the barriers like hurdles, dream anyway, like you’ve seen that vision before… and oh yeah… smile! And I would tell her that others may make more money, but if she’s lucky, she’ll make a difference, one family at a time.
Kathy-Ann Alexis is a symbol of working hard and serving others and the community. It is a part of her daily life and can be an inspiration to others to work hard and persevere to do what you love. She has found creative ways to communicate with her community and provide her services during the pandemic.
Keep a lookout for important dates to vote! Tuesday, May 24, 2022, is the Democratic Primary election. Showing up and voting is an essential part of our democracy and is a key way of having your voice heard.
If you’re interested in learning more about Kathy-Ann Alexis, visit her website.