MARIETTA - A local attorney has been chosen to fill the position of Washington County Common Pleas Court Magistrate.
Fleming resident Shoshanna Brooker, 37, started Jan. 14 and said she is excited to carry over the skills she has garnered in her eight years of private practice.
"Having been in domestic relations for so long, it's definitely an area of law that interests me and I'm extremely confident in," said Brooker.
Photo by Jasmine Rogers
New Washington County Common Pleas Court Magistrate Shoshanna Brooker reviews upcoming cases recently in her office. Brooker, who has a extensive background in domestic relations law, was selected to replace former magistrate Randall Burnworth, who became a Washington Count Common Pleas Court judge in January.
Brooker graduated from Capital Law School and was admitted to the Ohio State Bar Association in 2004.
While in school, she worked as a municipal defender in the Franklin County Public Defender Office, she said.
After graduation, Brooker decided to move back to the Fleming area, where she grew up, and started a private practice.
"I immediately started doing domestic relations and slowly built into having a criminal law practice and probate practice," she said.
Brooker plans to continue her private practice, though with a very scaled back case load, she said.
"I'm only going to be doing some probate and maybe some civil litigations in municipal court," she said.
Brooker also held a contract with the Washington County Public Defender Office to represent some of the office's defendants. However, Brooker had to end that contract to make time for her new position, she said.
It was Brooker's experience in domestic relations and her rapport with local attorneys who will now be presenting cases before her that were some of the things that made her right for the position, said Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth.
Burnworth and Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane selected Brooker from approximately half a dozen applicants, said Burnworth.
"She's done a lot of domestic work locally. She's bright and energetic, and she's got excellent IT skills," he said.
Burnworth, who previously held the magistrate position, left it vacant when he assumed his new role as judge on Jan. 1.
"It's an important position and you don't want people's cases to get backed up in the transition," he noted.
In the new position, Brooker will be hearing domestic relations cases consisting of issues such as divorces, dissolutions, visitation for non-married parties, post-divorce issues and custody issues, she said.
She will also be ruling on child support issues, domestic violence charges and issuing civil protection orders.
Because she was representing clients in many such cases, Brooker said she is excited for the change to looking at cases from the other side of the bench.
"I'm looking forward to being in the position where I fully get to delve into both sides. I'm really enjoying it right now, looking through the entire case, reviewing both sides, having more time to research the law," she said.
However, she will miss the opportunity to practice criminal law, another area of law she is passionate about, said Brooker.
"I think not having that as a part of my daily life is going to be a big adjustment," she said.
However, the move to magistrate was the next logical step in her professional career, and her entire family is very happy about the move, she said.
Additionally, the new job, which is part-time, but five days a week, will give Brooker more time to coach the Fort Frye High School Mock Trial team, and more importantly, more time to spend with family.
"My husband Jeff and my daughter Lakyn are both very excited about it. My daughter is just excited that I might be able to volunteer at her school sometimes," she said.
Her long-term aspirations could include running for a judge seat, Brooker said.
"Maybe 10 or 15 years from now I could see myself moving into a position as a judge," she said.
For now, Brooker said she is excited to learn the ropes of the new position and hopefully to write her first decision soon.