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Bridge succeeds Deininger on the appellate bench

Timing appears to be everything for Burneatta L. Bridge.

The former deputy attorney general retired last September because of family concerns after more than 20 years of state service. Less than six months later, personal and professional circumstances have greatly improved for Bridge, who was appointed to the District IV Court of Appeals by Gov. Jim Doyle.

Bridge begins her term today and succeeds Judge David G. Deininger who retired on Jan. 31.

In anticipation of a rigorous period of transition, Bridge vacationed in the Caribbean during the first week of February, which also happened to be the coldest of the year in Wisconsin.

“Life doesn’t seem to often work itself out like that,” joked Bridge about her recent good fortune. “As far as the appointment, it’s something I had thought about, but I didn’t really expect a vacancy. The timing was quite fortuitous in terms of my personal circumstances.”

Bridge vacated her last job as Administrator for the Division of Children and Family Services at the Department of Health and Family Services after less than year because of health issues within her family.

“Things have really stabilized and allowed me to pursue this opportunity,” said Bridge. “It will be a completely new experience, but I think my broad background will help me succeed.”

A 1982 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, Bridge has spent the majority of her career in Madison. She served as an assistant attorney general from 1985–93 and as deputy attorney general under Doyle for the next decade.

She went on to become chair of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission prior to joining the Division of Children and Family Services in 2005.

“I’ve dealt with a variety of subjects, worked in civil defense and criminal prosecution and have overseen 100 lawyers,” said Bridge. “I hope my experience serves me well on the bench.”

Bridge has also served as a mentor for UW Law School in the Legal Education Opportunities Program, a service she hopes to continue during her judicial term.

“I don’t want to disappear as a judge,” said Bridge. “I’d like to stay involved in the community and not retire to an office.”

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