Willa Staats Photo

Willa Staats

Associate Attorney
  • Profile

What do you get when you mix the legal prowess of a prosecutor with the bold creativity of a photographer? A strategic defense attorney with an eye for excellence.

As a native Texan, child of East Austin, and daughter of a career prosecutor and an award-winning photographer, I bring my background and roots with me to every case.

I graduated in 2016 from the University of Texas at Austin with a major in History and a minor in Philosophy. After graduating, I started my career in political consulting in New York City. Unfortunately, I found politics to be less policymaking and more fundraising, and so turned instead to the practice of law.

In 2020, I graduated with honors from the George Washington University Law School, where I worked as a Student Attorney for the Criminal Appeals and Post-Conviction Services Clinic. During law school, I interned in the Appellate Division at the United States Attorney's Office in Washington D.C., and the United States Sentencing Commission and I was also a member of the Federal Communications Law Journal.

I am well versed in federal and appellate criminal practice. For me, a focus on criminal law has personal roots. My mother, Ann Forman, was a prosecutor in Travis County before her death in 2010. She inspired her children and her colleagues in her relentless drive to rise above her role and pursue justice for defendants and victims alike.

Like my mother, I enjoy advocating on behalf of juveniles and I relish the opportunity to tell clients that their past is truly behind them and beyond the judgment of others. I follow the instruction of William Shakespeare as a guiding principle: “Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all.”

I am a member of the National Lawyers Guild, serving on the Disability Justice, Drug Policy, Housing, and Mass Incarceration Committees. In my free time, you might find me at home watching HBO documentaries, outside enjoying Austin’s gorgeous landscape, or attending a protest against one of many local and national injustices.

EDUCATION

  • The George Washington University Law School, JD with Honors
  • The University of Texas at Austin, BA
    • Honors: Phi Alpha Theta, Thurgood Marshall Scholar

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

  • Associate Attorney, Cofer & Connelly, PLLC

  • Student Attorney, Criminal Appeals & Post-Conviction Services Clinic

  • Legal Intern, United States Sentencing Commission

  • Legal Intern, United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia

  • Editorial and Research Consultant, Schoen Consulting

Volunteer Experience

  • President, Gulf Recovery Network

  • Legal Intern, Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights

  • Pro Bono Intern, CrescentCare

Professional Memberships

  • State Bar of Texas
  • State Bar of California

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