OK ATJ Foundation

About the Foundation

The Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation was founded in 2018 with the support of the Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission to serve as an independent nonprofit program, policy, and advocacy partner to expand and realize the goals of the Commission. Supported with start-up funding from the Oklahoma Bar Foundation, the ATJ Foundation’s Executive Director began in December 2019 as the sole staff. Over the past three years, the ATJ Foundation has solidified a role as a connector and advocate, as well as adding capacity to the state in areas of legal information and education. 

Learn more about the work the foundation, or Read our 2023 annual report! (You can also read our 2022 Report, 2021 Report and our 2020 report)

Executive Director

Katie Dilks is the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation, where she works to collaboratively identify and strengthen statewide solutions ensuring access to civil justice for all Oklahomans. Katie brings over a decade of experience in access to justice work to her role, primarily her 9 years of work at Georgetown Law as the school’s Associate Director for the Office of Public Interest and Community Service. Katie developed and led the innovative Public Interest Fellows program, working with over 600 students to prepare them for careers as public interest attorneys. 

During her time in Washington, DC, Katie also played a leadership role in launching the DC Affordable Law Firm, a DC-based nonprofit law firm providing affordable legal services for low-income individuals who earn just too much money to qualify for free legal aid. Additionally, she helped lead an all-volunteer team in designing and creating DC Refers, a directory of attorneys offering affordable legal services in the District. 

Katie has written and presented on access to justice topics including the need for affordable legal services, pro bono responses to disaster, career pathways in government and nonprofit law, and diversity and compensation trends in legal services. As a newer Oklahoman, and a huge booster for everything the state has to offer, she is excited to bring a national perspective to the unique challenges and opportunities in Oklahoma’s justice system. 

Katie earned her Juris Doctor and Master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University, and her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Kansas. She is a member of the bar in the District of Columbia. 

Director of Legal Information and Engagement

Melissa Brooks is the Director of Legal Information and Engagement of the Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation. Melissa’s role is to support and expand pro bono efforts across Oklahoma, as well as to build resources to connect Oklahomans with accessible legal information..

Melissa is a Certified Legal Link Trainer for the Oklahoma Community Justice Network and is the primary trainer for new and existing Community Navigators. Legal Link Oklahoma is a free training program for front line staff at community-facing organizations which certifies caseworkers, screeners, and other staff as legal Community Navigators. As a certified Community Navigator, participants will be able to competently recognize legal issues, refer clients to legal resources, and advocate for their interests in the legal system. 

She is a former Equal Justice Works Attorney and Staff Attorney at Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma where she served low income and senior clients with consumer (chapter 7 bankruptcy), estate planning, guardianship, family, and other elder law related issues for 5 years. Additionally, she served as the Pro Bono Coordinator for the Oklahoma City office of Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma. In that role, she maintained and developed several access to justice clinics including wills and trusts clinics, a waiver divorce clinic and a general legal advice clinic and placed pro bono cases with private attorneys. 

She continues to be an active volunteer for the OCCAC Guardianship Clinic and is a pro bono attorney for Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma. 

Melissa earned her Juris Doctor at Oklahoma City University School of Law with a Certificate in Wills, Trusts, and Estates (Estate Planning) and her undergraduate degree in Political Science with an emphasis in Pre-Law. She is an admitted member of the Oklahoma Bar Association and the Western District of Oklahoma federal bar.

The Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation serves as a convener, collaborator, and advocate to increase meaningful participation in a civil justice system that is fair and accessible to all.   

We are thankful for the support of our sponsors!