Kimberly Walker, who was ousted as Milwaukee County corporation counsel in 2013, will serve as the new executive director of the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee Inc.
Walker, 41, was chosen by the Legal Aid’s board of directors on March 5 to replace Tom Cannon, who will retire Aug. 31. Cannon has been the firm’s executive director since 2005 and has been involved with Legal Aid on and off for the better part of 43 years.
Walker will start April 1, according to a news release. Cannon will stay on as a senior advisor and mentor to Walker during her first few months on the job.
Walker said she is excited about the job because, “I believe in the mission of what the Legal Aid Society stands for.” She said she has done some pro bono work during her career, though she said she want to law school with the idea of helping indigent clients.
Walker served as Milwaukee County’s corporation counsel between 2011 and 2013 but was forced out by the County Board after supervisors complained that she advocated on behalf of County Executive Chris Abele more than their own positions.
Legal Aid Board President Peter Stone said that her departure from the county wasn’t a sticking point for the board, and he referred to it as an “unfortunate political situation that really didn’t reflect on her abilities.”
Stone said Walker has experience in fundraising and law firm management, which made her a good replacement for Cannon.
Prior to working for the county, Walker worked as an attorney for Johnson Controls Inc.
Cannon was honored in February with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Wisconsin Law Journal’s Leaders in the Law event. He, along with departing Legal Action of Wisconsin Inc. Executive Director John Ebbott, are known for their firm stance on full representation for poor residents, instead of clinics and limited scope representation.
Walker said she is “not married to any kind of notion” about civil legal services and will learn more as she takes on the job. Follow @eheisigWLJ