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MARQUETTE COUNTY— Patricia Micklow was the first ever women to be elected a judge in the Upper Peninsula. She was elected in 1986 to represent Marquette County in the 96th District Court.
“Prior to that, there was one woman judge but that was before it was required that you had to be an attorney or that you had to be elected,” said Micklow.
There were many steps Micklow had to complete before being a judge, including law school.
She attended the University of Michigan in 1973 and says it wasn’t the best environment for women at the time.
“I did and accelerated course and commuted on the weekends because I had a family at that point,” said Micklow. “And I was the oldest one in my class. There were only 17-percent of us were women at that time. There was one woman law professor. It was not a really friendly place for women in law school in that era.”
In school, Micklow grew a passion for studying domestic violence which launched into the focus of her professional career.
“Our first published article was the first in the country on domestic violence,” said Micklow. “We called it, ‘Wife Assault’ at that time and it launched the first shelter to be built in Michigan in Ann Arbor.”
In the early 70s, Micklow was one of the founders of the Women’s Center which serves Marquette and Alger counties.
“It as been an amazing, amazing development,” said Micklow. “I’m so proud of that center. I know we’re the longest, continuously serving women’s center in the state and possibly in the country. There’s been some rough spots, but we’ve always been able to prevail and the community has been very responsive to us.”
After about 14 years as district judge, she retired.