With the upcoming retirement of Oakland County Circuit Court Family Division Judge Edward Sosnick at the end of the year due to a requirement in state law, at least one candidate has lined up to replace him, although others are expected to hop into the race.
Family law attorney Karen McDonald, a partner with the law firm Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, announced her candidacy earlier this month.
A graduate of Alma College and the Wayne State University Law School, the Birmingham resident and mother of five began her career as a high school English teacher before enrolling in law school. There, she served as editor of the law review and graduated cum laude.
“I got in the race because for my entire professional career, I have focused on and devoted myself to children,” McDonald said. “I spent six years in the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office prosecuting crimes against kids, and now that I am in private practice doing family law, I’ve gotten some great experience in divorce (cases).”
She said she is the only candidate vying for the seat who has the combination of prosecutorial, litigation, and private practice experience in family law.
“My goal and focus in the campaign is to communicate my message to voters that I am dedicated and passionate, and will bring professionalism to the bench and a real desire to protect the kids and families.”
Sosnick, who will turn 72-years-old in December, can’t run for re-election because state law prohibits judges from seeking another term in office if they are 70-years-old or older.
Staff in his chambers said he was first elected to the 48th District Court bench in Bloomfield Hills in 1984. Four years later, he won a six-year term on the circuit court bench and was sworn in on Jan. 1, 1989. He served two stints as circuit court chief judge, one from 1996-97 and the other from 1998-99.
McDonald called Sosnick “a wonderful judge.”
The filing deadline for non-incumbent judicial candidates is May 1. Circuit court judges serve six-year terms and are currently paid approximately $140,000 per year.