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Family Life v. Career

Judge Angela McCormick Bisig opens up about her career and how she makes her family a priority

 

Interview by Sarah Carter Levitch
Story by Elizabeth Scinta
Photo by Andrea Hutchinson

 

As a woman balancing a demanding career as a judge and the nurturing responsibilities of being a mother, Judge Angela McCormick Bisig admitted that there are no secret tricks to her trade other than determination and multitasking. Bisig has been a part of the Kentucky judiciary for over 19 years, where she’s served in a number of roles. Now, she hopes to step away from her position as Chief Circuit Court Judge and fill the District 4 seat on the Supreme Court of Kentucky. “I’ve been working to prepare myself to serve on the Kentucky Supreme Court for most of my life. Not only 13 years as an attorney and 20 years as a judge but also working as a volunteer and board member of many community organizations,” explained Bisig. 

Bisig doesn’t hide behind her gavel but steps out in the community to work with organizations with the hope and dedication of making Louisville a better city. She’s a founding member of Restorative Justice Louisville, now a division of the Volunteers of America, and hosts events for Louisville’s local Sister Cities Program, according to her website. It’s crucial for Bisig to stay in contact with friends, which she does through joining organizations and serving on the board with them; seeing people she enjoys while bettering the community provides an added benefit to her work. “I’ve also worked hard to be innovative in justice issues like working with a Business Court pilot project, bringing restorative justice to our juveniles and language access issues,” said Bisig.

In her courtroom, Bisig implements The Golden Rule, treat others as you’d like to be treated because everyone deserves equal respect regardless of why they’re standing in front of her. “My top goals in being a judge are to treat everyone who comes in contact with our justice system with dignity and respect. I appreciate that time spent in a courtroom is often one of the most serious life situations people face. Whether charged with a crime or resolving a civil dispute, the court involves people’s freedom, lives and livelihood,” explained Bisig. 

The mindset she has now as Chief Circuit Court Judge would carry over to her role on the Supreme Court of Kentucky if voted in. Her vision as a Supreme Court justice is to work with her colleagues to “evaluate and innovate things our legal community can do to improve justice.” This goal includes moving cases through the appeals process quicker and creating more individualized dockets for justice issues that should be dealt with individually—for example, a drug court, mental health court, veterans court, etc.

While being a judge and running for the Supreme Court of Kentucky is extremely important to her, so is her family. It’s no mystery that the work-life balance is a tricky tightrope to walk, but it is doable with the right support system and time-management skills. “I always tell young attorneys, particularly women, that you can have a fulfilling career, a family and outside interests, but it isn’t always easy. I don’t know that I have any secret sauce type of tips other than being determined to fit it all in somehow. Multitasking helps, like doing yoga while watching the news or stretching while you dry your hair. I carve out Mondays as family dinner night and religiously make that time to be fully present with my family,” said Bisig. She gave us two last pieces of advice we believe everyone should hear. “Select a career you feel passionate about if you are able. Feeling in the zone when you are doing what you do to earn your way in the world helps work feel less draining,” explained Bisig. “Finally, have some grace for yourself when it all feels overwhelming.”