WAUKESHA, Wis. —
Judge Jennifer Dorow spoke Monday with WISN 12 News’ Joyce Garbaciak about what’s next in her career, the challenges she faces and why the Waukesha Parade Attack trial meant so much to her.
Jennifer Dorow is the chief judge of Waukesha County, and also the chief judge of the entire five-county district that Waukesha County is a part of.
Now, she is considering running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
“It certainly would be a job where I can continue serving the people of this great state of Wisconsin. And so I’m thinking about it. I know a decision has to be made very, very quickly. Given kind of the timing of everything,” Dorow said.
What’s next in Dorow’s career?
Time is of the essence as nomination papers can start to be circulated this coming Thursday, and they must be filed in early January.
Dorow’s profile grew after she presided over the recent trial of Darrell Brooks, who was convicted in October of killing six people during the 2021 Waukesha Christmas parade.
Due to a pending appeal, Dorow said she cannot ethically discuss specifics about the Darrell Brooks trial, but she did speak about the biggest challenges in her career and in her personal life.
“You know, you look back and you go, ‘that was really tough,’ but you made it through and it made me stronger and it made me into the person that I am today.”
Who is Jennifer Dorow?
Dorow, a married mother of three, said her biggest challenge personally was perhaps her pregnancy with her third child.
“It was really, really rough. I was a lot older, but I was building a baby and it was all worth it,” Dorow said.
Judicially, Dorow said her biggest challenge was going through all of the uncertainty surrounding the courts and COVID-19.
“Going through a pandemic was incredibly challenging,” she said. “I think we learned a lot of lessons through it, not the least of which is how important the court system is and keeping those things going.
Dorow, 52, also spoke about her very important job as a mother.
“I’m a working mom, so I’ve got to balance all of that. I’ve got one child who’s not of driving age. And so, you know, mom taxi kicks in. I joke with my staff that I got to go home to my other job now,” Dorow said.
What did the Waukesha Trial mean for Judge Dorow?
Waukesha county’s chief judge considers herself part of the Waukesha community and emphasized the importance of the community she represents.
“I was elected in the county of Waukesha. I’m a member of the community as well… I want to ensure that every case that comes before me is done right the first time that the decisions are based on law and in fact, right based upon what’s before me. And that can be in a variety of different ways. And so that’s just how I approach each case that comes before me,” Dorow said.
To view the full interview between WISN 12 News Anchor Joyce Garbaciak and Judge Jennifer Dorow play the video above.
Garbaciak: “What would you like people to know about you? I think people saw you behind the bench and they have this image of you. What might they not realize about you?”
Dorow: “I’m just a regular human being like anybody else, out there doing a job that I love to do. I have just been so fortunate to truly love what I do. I often tell people I don’t have a career, I have a calling and I’m blessed. I’m just blessed. And I will continue to do this job and do it to the best of my ability.”
Garbaciak: “Did you always want to be a lawyer?”
Dorow: “No. Well, I have a broadcast communication degree. I wanted to be in your spot at one point.I think after I graduated from undergrad, I sort of felt this pull toward the law. And as they say, the rest is history. Because I got to law school and I just fell in love with criminal law.”
Garbaciak: “Your name has been bandied about as a potential Supreme Court candidate. I was wondering if you’ve given more thought to that and where your head is at in that decision right now.”
Dorow: “So, first of all, I’ve been overwhelmed with the support and the encouragement that people have, you know, texted me, called me, and just encouraged me to really think about that race. Of course, that’s a pretty quick turnaround and it certainly would be a job where I can continue serving the people of this great state of Wisconsin. And so I’m thinking about it. I know a decision has to be made very, very quickly. Given kind of the timing of everything.”
Garbaciak: “Where do you see yourself in a year?”
Dorow: “Hopefully sitting by this fireplace and reflecting on everything that I’ve gone through and content.”
Garbaciak: “Perhaps in Madison?”
Dorow: “Perhaps, or perhaps right here.”