Every few months, Katie Holtz gets a phone update from a teen she represented during a rough time in his life.
The calls are an affirmation of the personal impact Holtz, 32, seeks as a lawyer, she said, and offset the late nights she often puts in as an assistant state public defender.
“He got his life back on track and every once in a while, he’ll still call me and check in,” she said of the teen, who spent time in a state juvenile detention facility, “and I feel like I was at least part of that.”
Through her work representing troubled, abused and neglected children in Milwaukee County, Holtz gets a daily dose of the human element that she finds so important in her work.
She said she preferred the day-to-day challenges at the SPD to her previous work as a fundraiser for Emily’s List, a political action committee aimed at electing pro-choice Democratic women to office. Although that work was satisfying, Holtz said, it kept her in the political fishbowl of Washington and the Beltway.
“I needed re-perspective,” Holtz said of moving into law.
She continues to stay grounded through her volunteer work at Big Brothers, Big Sisters and by participating in regional marathons.
— Justin Kern
What was your most useful law school course?
My clinical work with the Remington Center (at the University of Wisconsin)
What is the best part of being an attorney?
My clients. They truly make it worth going to work every day.
If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what would you have done?
What song is on heavy rotation on your iPod?
Currently it is anything by Adele and Zac Brown Band, but Bruce Springsteen is never far from the top of my playlist.
How many countries have you visited? Which ones?
14: Spain, Portugal, France, Morocco, Greece, Austria, Germany, Canada, U.S., Dominican Republic, Canary Islands, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy
What was your favorite toy as a child?
My Big Wheel; it had Kermit the Frog as a passenger on the back
What famous person you would most like to have a drink with?
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. or Atticus Finch
If you could be a superhero, who would you be?
Wonder Woman (I frequently dressed up like her when I was a kid) or She-Ra, Princess of Power (she was He-Man’s twin sister)
What is your favorite thing to do in Wisconsin?
Attend Wisconsin Badger games (football, hockey and basketball) and pre-game tailgates
What is your most prized possession?
My music box collection. One was given to me every Christmas by my grandfather and frequently represented something that was important going on in my life that year.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would like to be more daring.