Thursday, April 29, 2021

CVTC Graduate Appointed County Register in Probate

Article Photo - CVTC Graduate Appointed County Register in Probate

Susan Warner of Augusta, left, is sworn in as new Eau Claire County Register in Probate by Judge Emily Long Feb. 1.

The new Eau Claire County Register in Probate and Clerk of Juvenile Court brings a record of hard work and leadership and more than a dozen years of experience in the legal profession.

Susan Warner of Augusta, a 2008 graduate of the Paralegal program at Chippewa Valley Technical College, was sworn in on Feb. 1, taking over leadership of the office after Jean Gray’s retirement.

The offices work much like a clerk of circuit court, but one that handles confidential cases like mental commitments, guardianships, children in need of protective services and estates of people who die without a will – all sensitive circumstances. Likewise, juvenile court records are confidential.

After a couple of stints at local law firms, she was hired as a deputy in the office she has led as of Feb. 1. Warner was prepared to take over someday by Jean Gay, who held the position for more than two decades before retiring at the beginning of the year.

Warner says she long felt an interest in the legal profession, feeling at a young age that she wanted to become a lawyer and help abused children. But family concerns kept her from pursuing that level of education. When her husband, Bill Warner, completed his degree at CVTC in what is today called Architectural Structural Design, she decided it was her opportunity to pursue a CVTC education as well, choosing the Paralegal program and earning an associate degree.

“As part of the CVTC Paralegal program, I had an internship at a local law firm that turned into a full-time job after graduation,” Warner said.

Warner worked at one other law firm before starting a position as a deputy in the Register in Probate office in January 2012. Warner stood out, working past normal business hours to help members of the public and taking on tasks outside her regular duties. Gay, nearing retirement, saw Warner’s potential, but a change in state law became a concern. To take over leadership of the office, Warner would need a bachelor’s degree.

“She told me that if I wanted the job, that’s what I had to do,” Warner recalls. “I started at UW-Eau Claire, but when the Paralegal program was discontinued, I finished my bachelor's degree online through UW-Oshkosh.”

Register in Probate is by law a judicially appointed position, and the Eau Claire County judges chose Warner to take over the office when Gay retired, with their choice approved by the chief judge of the 10th Judicial District.

Warner has remained involved with CVTC, serving on the CVTC Paralegal Program Advisory Committee from 2011 to 2014, serving as president of the committee in 2014. She says a CVTC education has served her family well.

“Bill is using his CVTC degree at Global Finishing Solutions in Osseo,” she said. “I wasn’t in a position to go to a four-year school, but CVTC provided the focused education to get me started. Without the Paralegal program at CVTC, I would not have been employed at a law firm. It started me on this trajectory.”

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