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UW-Superior Alumna: Rebecca Lovejoy

Posted on Jan 11, 2011
UW-Superior alumna Rebecca Lovejoy, Class of '90, has built a successful legal career in Superior. Most recently, she became the Douglas County Court Commissioner -- and the first woman to hold a post in the county judiciary.
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During her legal career, Rebecca Lovejoy has taught at UW-Superior, coached the mock trial team and offered student internships in her office.

During her legal career, Rebecca Lovejoy has taught at UW-Superior, coached the mock trial team and offered student internships in her office.

Naming a job in the Superior legal community that Rebecca Lovejoy hasn't done might be difficult.

A 1990 UW-Superior graduate with a 1993 law degree from Marquette University, Lovejoy has worked in private practice, as staff attorney for a non-profit organization that helps domestic abuse victims, as part-time assistant corporation counsel for Douglas County, as part-time assistant district attorney, as part-time university instructor, and as hearing officer for the Superior public schools. In these roles she developed a wide range of experience as well as a reputation as a hard-working, well-prepared attorney dedicated to public service.

Lovejoy added another job to the list earlier in 2010 when Douglas County's judges appointed her Douglas County Court Commissioner. The appointment includes a unique distinction: She is the first woman to hold a post in the Douglas County judiciary.

UW-Superior offered the right environment

A native of Superior, Lovejoy briefly attended the University of Minnesota after high school. She soon decided to transfer to UW-Superior because the smaller university offered an environment she needed.

"It gave me a lot of attention," she said, "a lot of help from professors, a lot of one-on-one relationships with professors, which was very helpful to me."

Asked to name her most helpful professors, she hesitated. "There were so many," she said. "All of them."

She singled out the late Dr. Egal Feldman, George Gott, and political science professors Dr. Charles Kenney and Dr. George Wright."They helped me express myself, helped me learn how to write, how to present an argument," she said.

'Wanted to do good with my career'

Lovejoy said she decided to major in political science because she was "a bit of an activist" and "wanted to do good with my career."

Kenney, now retired, and Wright steered her toward opportunities like scholarships and internships. She became the first UW-Superior student to complete an internship in the Washington, D.C., office of U. S. Rep. David Obey. Wright also encouraged her to consider attending law school.

"Rebecca always had interesting comments in class as well as a keen analytical mind, so I recommended she attend law school," Wright said. "She likes people and has a practical bent that well fitted her for a law in career. My early sense of her abilities has only been borne out by her career, first in private practice and more recently as assistant district attorney and corporation counsel."

Familiar to students

Lovejoy is familiar to many UW-Superior students. She spent from 1997 to 2008 teaching courses in the university's Legal Studies program. She assisted with the mock trial team, taught in the paralegal program and sponsored student internships in her office.

Dr. Maria Wyant Cuzzo, professor of legal studies, broached the idea of teaching to Lovejoy. "I always thought Rebecca would be a great teacher and she was interested in the idea," Cuzzo said. "She has always had a keen interest in helping young people and being a mentor and guide, and she appreciated the mentors and guides she had, so she's giving back."

In Wisconsin, a county court commissioner performs numerous duties involving family court and juvenile court. A commissioner also handles a wide range of matters in civil and criminal court, such as issuing summonses and warrants, and presiding over the initial appearances of defendants.

New job a good fit

For Lovejoy, the job is a good fit. It involves a lot of family law issues, which she handled in private practice. She also deals with a lot of people who are entering the legal system for the first time. "You feel like you're helping families," she said.

She also likes the responsibilities she has in criminal matters. "I feel like I'm helping to protect the community and protect the Constitution," she said.

And the aspect of being the first woman in the Douglas County judiciary? Lovejoy said that isn't a big issue in the local legal community because women already hold so many jobs. However, it's significant to the broader community, and she's received numerous letters and comments from people applauding her appointment.

Several local attorneys are alumni

Lovejoy is one of several graduates of UW-Superior's Legal Studies and Criminal Justice programs who have returned to Superior and Duluth to practice law. Cuzzo said Lovejoy's latest appointment will help the community.

"There are a lot of ways to be successful as an attorney, but those who choose to serve people are on a unique path of being committed to the community," Cuzzo said. "She has a real heart for public service."

"I think she is one of many of our alumni who find accomplishment and success," Cuzzo added, "and they acquired their basic skills at UW-Superior."

Read more Superior Alumni profiles.

News Contact: Al Miller | 715-394-8260 | amiller{atuws}
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