Duly Noted

Hon. Kathleen Feeney named among 2018 Leaders in the Law

Kent County Circuit Court Family Division Judge Kathleen A. Feeney has been named one of  Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s 2018 Leaders in the Law. This prestigious honor comes shortly after Judge Feeney was named Chief Judge Pro Tem of Kent County Circuit Court and the State Bar of Michigan Family Law Section named her as the recipient of its Justice Marilyn Kelly Outstanding Judicial Service Award.

This is the tenth year that Leaders in the Law has recognized 30 outstanding leaders and mentors within Michigan’s legal community for their efforts including: outstanding contributions to the practice of law in Michigan; leadership in improving the justice system in Michigan; seeking im-provements to the legal community and communities at large; setting an example for other lawyers.

Judge Feeney co-chairs the Family Law Committee for the Michigan Judges Association and has helped draft significant amendments to the Michigan Court Rules. She serves on the Michigan Supreme Court Committee on Model Civil Jury Instructions and is active in her church and community including  15 years on the board of the Wolverine World Wide Family YMCA.

Judge Feeney took the bench in March 2000. She previously practiced family, employment, and insurance law and worked at the Court of Appeals. Judge Feeney is extremely accomplished in what was once a very male-dominated field. “The biggest challenge I face in my legal career is being a woman,” Judge Feeney said. “...I’m the first woman judge on the Kent County Circuit Court and the first Chief Judge Pro Tem from the Family Division... I have been surprised and continue to be surprised, that litigants, lawyers, and sometimes judges still throw up barriers because of my gender. I do revel in overcoming these barriers.”

Judge Feeney’s approach is fair and honest, often providing counsel to those before her. While the last 18 years have brought much change and expansion to the Kent County Circuit Court, Judge Feeney believes those within the courts should help make the system better. “That’s what drives me now; I am committed to improving the court system and continuing to find better ways to serve the families and children we see every day.”

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