What does the Washtenaw County Circuit Court do?

The Washtenaw County Circuit Court handles all civil matters in excess of $25,000.00, all felonies, all family law cases (divorces, child support, spousal support, parenting time and child custody and adoptions), personal protection orders and all requests for injunctions (orders to compel someone to do something or stop doing something).

I heard the first two years of this judicial term will be mostly family law. Do you have any family law experience?

Yes I do! Family law made up a very substantial amount of my practice for a number of years. In fact, the very first trial I ever did was a divorce case.

You do a lot of bankruptcy work. What makes you qualified to be a judge on our Circuit Court?

One interesting thing about bankruptcy is that it draws on so many other areas of law such as domestic relations, property disputes, business disputes, taxes, mortgages ... the list goes on and on. I have litigated in both our state and federal courts for my entire career and feel comfortable in every court at every level.

What are some of your proudest accomplishments as an attorney?

I was in the forefront of mortgage foreclosure prevention during the housing crisis. I partnered with our County Treasurer, Catherine McClary, local real estate agents, the Housing Bureau for Seniors and the Michigan State Extension on Zeeb Rd. to provide information and services to people in danger of foreclosure. Saving someone's home is a great feeling. Also, being told by clients that I have made a big positive impact on their lives always is amazing. I often go beyond legal services: I try to help my clients find the resources they need for whatever their situation is. Finally, being recognized by my colleagues in 2017 with the Washtenaw County Bar Association Pro Bono Award was a real highlight.

What have you done as an attorney that you never expected?

In law school (and before) I never thought I would be involved in advocacy for individuals with mental illness. It just wasn't on my radar. However, my practice, through happenstance, led me down that mental health road. I have now represented hundreds of people in mental health proceedings. I have won a number of jury trials for them. More importantly, I have learned about the weaknesses in our mental health system and have tirelessly advocated for improving our mental health system in Michigan.