Racine Attorney Rebecca Mason announced Sunday that she is applying for the municipal judge seat left vacant when Mark Nielsen was voted into a Racine County Circuit Court seat during the April 5 general election.
The appointment is temporary; from July 1 until April 2017. The successful candidate will then have the opportunity – as will other interested lawyers – to run for the position in a special election in April 2017 to serve until April 2018, which is the remainder of the term.
Qualified candidates must be a city resident and licensed to practice in the State of Wisconsin. They should – but is not required – to also have criminal law and traffic experience, a story in The Journal Times reads. The annual salary is $50,251.
Mason opened her own practice in 2012 after practicing corporate law at Godfrey & Kahn, S.C. where she focused on public records, open meetings law, media law, political law, and civil litigation. At Rebecca Mason Law, she has focused primarily on estate planning, public records and open meetings law, civil litigation, and advising small businesses and nonprofit corporations.
Full disclosure: Mason is the attorney-of-record for Racine County Eye.
Mason said she feels like she’s wanted to be a judge her whole life sparked by a career day when she was in elementary school.
“We had a career day at school where a lawyer spoke about defending the Constitution and helping people. ” she recalled. “I went home and told my parents I was going to be a lawyer. They were a little surprised because we don’t have any lawyers in our family.”
As a high school student, she participated in Badger Girls State, a kind of students-in-government summer camp where she was “elected” to the state Supreme Court, which piqued her interest in becoming a judge. Clerking for a state Supreme Court justice in law school sealed her ambition to serve on the bench.
Applying to fill Nielsen’s vacancy appeals to Mason because it is a part-time position that gives her the opportunity to continue her private practice and balance her busy life as a wife and mother to three children.
“So much that goes on in municipal court affects people on a personal level, and I like that through the court and through my practice I can give back to our community,” she continued. “I love what I’m doing in my practice and this would allow me to do both.”
Nielsen also continued his private practice while serving on the municipal bench.
Mason said that if chosen to fill Nielsen’s seat she hopes to introduce technologies that will make the court run more efficiently and potentially increase revenues for the city.
“I will embrace the opportunity to modernize the court experience. Bringing technology to the court will make it a better experience for our residents and has the potential to bring in new revenue to the City,” she wrote in a press release sent to local media.
Applications are being accepted through May 6, and the city council is expected to vote in time for the successful candidate to begin July 1.