Some people would prefer not to contend with the robust issues of public policy which are so important to the maintenance of our free society.
Criminal justice, constitutional law, ethics and national security are issues of critical importance and the gravity of which can seem overwhelming for most people.
Katherine Robertson is not most people.
She entered public service with the specific intent of taking part in the debate and crafting of policy on the tough issues.
Robertson serves as chief counsel to Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall. In her current role, she is the attorney general’s point person on policy at the state and federal levels.
Upon her appointment to the position, Marshall recognized Robertson’s experience and dedication to her state.
“Katherine possesses significant experience in public policy both in Washington and Montgomery, combined with a solid grounding in the law and an appreciation for the essential work that we do in protecting the public interest,” Marshall remarked.
With a political science degree from Auburn University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Alabama School of Law, she began her career at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison where she assisted in fostering relationships between the department and state and local law enforcement.
Eager to further her career in ways she knew would be impactful, Robertson went on to serve as legislative counsel for Senator Jeff Sessions on the Senate Judiciary Committee. There she worked on legislation and policy relating to crime, drugs and national security. This experience also instilled in her a passion for constitutional and criminal law.
Her experience in those areas helped prepare her for a brief return to Washington in 2017 to serve Sessions throughout the process of his confirmation to become attorney general of the United States.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work on some of the most pressing issues facing our nation and our state,” Robertson told Yellowhammer News. “In doing so, I’ve been in the trenches with Attorney General Sessions, Congressman Palmer and Attorney General Marshall—principled leaders who have displayed fortitude in the face of significant adversity. Each of them has invested in me and inspired me to stick with it.”
There is little doubt Robertson has left her mark on Alabama public policy in recent years.
Marshall considers her “an invaluable member” of his leadership team.
And her reputation in the law and public policy proceeds her.
“Prior to meeting her, I was aware of her insightful and compelling writing on the issues of poverty and education and was extremely pleased that she decided to join our office,” Marshall noted. “Katherine has a keen grasp of policy, is a gifted strategic thinker and helps shape the vision for what we want to accomplish at the Attorney General’s Office.”
There is one person, however, whom Robertson regards as having influenced her career the most.
“My father played a huge role in my entering the legal profession,” she said. “He’s an attorney, but he also pointed me in the direction of public service going back to my high school days when he sponsored my delegation each year at Alabama Youth Legislature. His encouragement and my involvement in that program laid the foundation for the work I do today.”
She has carried a sense of service every step of the way.
Robertson serves on the Board of Directors for Cornerstone Schools of Alabama, a private Christian school serving 600 students in inner-city Birmingham, and she was recently recognized as the school’s Volunteer of the Year. She was also appointed by Governor Kay Ivey to serve on the Fair Ballot Commission and the Alabama Women’s Commission.
The impact of her service has been significant and evident to those with whom she works most closely.
“I am grateful that she has decided to use her talents in public service, and the State of Alabama is better off because of her commitment to serving others,” said Marshall.
So it’s not surprising that Robertson’s advice for those entering a career in the law or in the policy arena involves one particular path.
“Consider serving your state,” Robertson concluded. “While I will always relish my stints in Washington, there’s something special about working more directly for the people of Alabama and seeing the tangible results of your work.”
Yellowhammer News is proud to name Katherine Robertson a 2019 Woman of Impact.
The 2nd Annual Women of Impact Awards will celebrate the honorees on April 29, 2019, in Birmingham. Event details can be found here.
Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News