Court clerk, Waukesha County Juvenile Court
A bulletin board of photos of happy families — children and their adoptive parents — is Waukesha County Juvenile Court Clerk Kelly Haag’s daily reminder of the importance of her work.
“We just try to make the legal process so much easier for them,” Haag said, “because they’re probably facing the worst problems they’ve ever had in their lives. Many of our filings are CHIPs cases. Anything we can do to help ease their way through it is important. And hopefully, they can transition out, and then lead happy and productive lives.”
Haag said she sometimes encounters grateful parents while she is out grocery shopping or running errands; parents who were previously in court and who have since turned their lives around.
Haag, who joined the Wisconsin Court System in 1998 as a juvenile court clerk, is the lone constant in juvenile court.
Every two years or so, the judges and their staff rotate, and it’s her responsibility to greet them and quickly get them on track.
Because of tight statutory jurisdiction rules, she said, efficiency is critical. But efficiency doesn’t come at the expense of empathy, she emphasized.
Though Haag’s workdays are busy, she’s also made the time to help create a juvenile law section for the Waukesha County Bar Association.
— Jane Pribek
Court Clerk, Kenosha County Circuit Court
“Karen Tibbits has been a stellar employee with the Kenosha Circuit Court since February 1989. Karen spent 13 years in the Kenosha District Attorney’s Office before moving to the Circuit Court. She began her duties as a felony clerk and progressed to her current position as the legal secretary/legal assistant to the Criminal/Juvenile court commissioner.
In her years with the Circuit Court, Karen has displayed exemplary skills and a professional attitude. Karen is a pleasure to all who work with her. She has served three different court commissioners, and as a result of her efforts, the transitions from one commissioner to the next have gone seamlessly. Karen is responsible for scheduling and processing of many time sensitive cases and does so in a proficient, timely, cheerful and extremely accurate manner.
Karen makes my job a pleasure.”
Kenosha County Circuit Court