March 2023 Newsletter - Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan


Spring has finally arrived! We are officially amid a time of renewal, new beginnings, longer days and abundant sunshine! While March weather remains forever unpredictable, March is still the month of expectations. As we enjoy the warmth of the sun and marvel at the arrival of spring flowers, let us also take time to bring awareness to our hopes and expectations. Know that the work you do is valued and that your commitment to public service is appreciated.

Kathryn O’Grady Joins Third Circuit Court as General Counsel

The Third Circuit Court is pleased to welcome back Kathryne O’Grady to the Court as General Counsel. Since beginning her legal career in Wayne County as an assistant prosecutor, Ms. O’Grady has held numerous executive administrative and legal positions at the county, state and national level. These positions have included Deputy Director for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Director of Policy and Resource Development for Wayne County Children’s Services Department, legal training consultant for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, executive division director with the State Court Administrative Office, and several years as a Wayne County Juvenile Court referee. In 2013, she was appointed full-time faculty at Georgetown University, where she remains adjunct, since her return to Michigan.

Ms. O’Grady is a State Bar of Michigan Foundation Fellow, Detroit Bar Association member, and Honorary Lifetime Member of the Referees Association of Michigan.

Ms. O’Grady is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the Detroit College of Law.

The Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan is hiring for multiple positions. In addition to wages, retirement plan, medical, dental, and vision benefits, the Court offers generous vacation time and has an extensive holiday schedule that includes paid end-of-year shut down.  Additionally, employees of the Court may be eligible for forgiveness of their student loans under the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.  More importantly, if you are service-oriented and have an interest in work that is closely connected to the community, employees of the Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan are rewarded with the satisfaction of participating in the provision of justice in Michigan's largest, most populous county.


The following positions are open:

  • Associate Attorney
  • Clerk V
  • Specialty Court Coordinator
  • Domestic Relations Specialist
  • Executive Court Administrator
  • Forensic Family Clinician
  • Information Specialist I
  • Judicial Law Clerk I
  • Pretrial Services Specialist


For more information and to apply, visit our website button below and click on the Careers tab. Please share with anyone who may be interested.

FOCA Winter Conference


The Friend of the Court Association Winter Conference was held February 21 through February 24 at the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City. Approximately half the state’s 83 counties had representatives in attendance. Friend of the Court, Erin Lincoln, and Assistant Friend of the Court, Jillian Fitzgerald, attended on behalf of Wayne County. The conference provides valuable legal updates and training on Friend of the Court specific issues, such as case transfers, grievances, IV-D training requirements, MiChildSupport, the Electronic Document Exchange, and more. Friend of the Court Bureau Director, Steve Capps, presented on updates at the State Court Administrative Office as well as the intersection between bankruptcy and child support. And Michigan Office of Child Support IV-D Director Erin Frisch was in attendance and provided updates from both a state and federal child support program level. The biannual conference is an excellent forum for “Friends” to connect and collaborate with one another.

EMIY: Encourage Me I’m Young

EMIY – Encourage Me I’m Young is a Detroit based non-profit organization that is effecting change in the lives of young boys along their journey to becoming men. The organization’s mission is: The restoration of family through seeding in the lives of boys in prevention and intervention activities. EMIY celebrated its 10th Annual Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, March 4, 2023. Friend of the Court Supervisor, LaShan Bradley, attended the breakfast and reported that “[t]he breakfast was an inspiring eye-opening experience that allowed me to network with a trail of community leaders in action; working together to uplift, encourage and restore families toward empowerment.”

The event hosted a panel of speakers including Dr. Velonda Anderson of Sweet Potato Delight, who spoke on the importance of health and nutrition; Pastor Willie Berry from Encounter Church, who provided the attendees with a wealth of knowledge in his field of expertise on family finance; Mr. Ford, in association with Shedora Ford, with Destined for Greatness- Mentoring and Community Resource Center, who spoke on mentorship; and the final speaker of the hour, Kirk Mayes of KBM Ventures (former CEO of Forgotten Harvest) motivated his listeners by sharing his life’s journey and offering guidance tips toward becoming successful.

Outside of the annual breakfast, EMIY is active in the community with programs like mobile mentoring, mentor training, a Boys Steps program, Future Leaders program, an ELITE program, a BOSS program, as well as football and basketball camps among other various initiatives. EMIY has collaborated with schools and youth on issues of suicide prevention promoting its #SMASHSUICIDE campaign, Reading IS Life, and National Respect Day.

Find out more about EMIY at

Native Americans in the Workplace

Did you know that there are 12 federally recognized tribes in Michigan and that Michigan recognizes an additional 4 tribes?  Did you also know that as of 2020 there were approximately 30,000 Native Americans living in the Detroit area?

On March 7, 2023, the Michigan Diversity Council held a virtual presentation on Native Americans in the Workplace: Beyond Land Acknowledgments.  The presenter was Dr. Kevin P. Leonard, Interim Director of the Native American Institute at Michigan State University.

Dr. Leonard provided a brief yet comprehensive history of the culture of Indigenous people in Michigan. He provided information related to Blood Quantum, Land Acknowledgements and Tribal sovereignty, among numerous other topics. During his presentation, Dr. Leonard offered suggestions for creating an inclusive workplace for Native Americans. He stressed the importance of earning trust, being respectful and building relationships. Indigenous cultures have a deep reverence for nature (the earth) and their elders, and operate under a different aspect of time. All these factors should be taken into consideration when striving to create a work environment where Native American employees feel valued, respected and empowered to contribute their diverse talents, ideas and experiences. Failure to understand cultural differences can unintentionally create friction, affecting employee engagement, workplace decisions and staff interactions.


By Crystal Rose, Human Resources


It has been an initiative at the Court to move towards a more diverse and inclusive culture. The Court’s Diversity & Inclusion mission statement is as follows: “We appreciate our common connection and respect our diverse and unique human experiences. We move forward as an inclusive organization as we provide accessible and equal justice.”  The introduction of using pronouns is one step towards achievement of this mission. A person’s pronoun relates to their gender identity. According to the GLSEN education organization, pronoun is defined as, “The pronoun or set of pronouns that a person identifies with and would like to be called when their proper name is not being used.”


The focus on pronouns is geared towards respecting others by identifying yourself, and to know how to identify and address others. The objective is to create a more welcoming and inclusive space for people of all genders, including but not limited to transgender, gender nonconforming, gender non-binary people, and people uncomfortable identifying with "he" or "she". Ultimately, you don't want to make incorrect or hurtful assumptions about someone's gender based on their appearance. Just because someone appears feminine or masculine doesn't mean they identify as a man or woman. This article will define terms and help us become familiar with the practice of pronoun-sharing. 


Common Pronouns

Some commonly used pronouns are “she/her/hers,” “he/him/his,” ze/hir/hirs,” and “they/them/theirs.” Some people prefer no pronouns at all.


Gender-neutral Pronouns and How to Use Them

According to an article written by Caroline Forsey, “Gender-neutral pronouns are words that don't specify whether the subject of the sentence is female or male. ‘They', for instance, is a third-person pronoun that is gender neutral.” To avoid accidentally offending someone at the office before you know their pronouns, it’s important to use gender-neutral pronouns in your workplace conversations. Failing to do so can be offensive.


Typically, you won't use one of these gender-neutral pronouns unless someone asks you to identify them as such.


Introducing Pronouns

An easy way to bring pronouns into the discussion is to start with yourself. If you’re introducing yourself, include your pronouns. Below are a few examples of ways to introduce yourself:

“Hi, I’m Jane, and my pronouns are she/her.”

“Hi, I’m John. I use he/him and they/them pronouns”

 “I’m James, and I use they/them pronouns.”


By sharing your own pronouns, you're inviting the other person to share theirs, but not forcing them to. When you first meet someone, you don't want to ask about their pronouns. This could come off as invasive or make them feel uncomfortable, or like you are asking them to out themselves.


You can also include pronouns on email signatures, or nametags. Include your “pronoun” under your “name” as an opportunity for participants to make visible their gender pronouns.


When someone shares their pronouns with you, some appropriate responses include:

“Thanks for letting me know!”

“Cool, my pronouns are [they/them, he/him, etc.].”

“Great, I’ll look up how to use those correctly. Mind spelling them for me?”


There are more traditional gender neutral pronouns you can introduce into your everyday conversation, regardless of the individual. These include "Them", "They", "Their", "Everyone", and "That Person".


An important note to remember is, when in doubt; refer to someone by their name, rather than "him" or "her" or “Ms.” Or “Mrs.”


Here are some examples of how to use “they”, “their”, and “them” in a conversation, which are more common gender-neutral pronouns, and it's easy to incorporate into your daily conversations. These terms are more than likely used subconsciously even when you know someone identifies as "he" or "she". It's a natural substitute, but can go a long way towards creating a more inclusive office culture.

           "I spoke to the director and they said they'd get back to me."

"I think someone left their laptop in the conference room."

"Who's in charge of that campaign? I'll email them."


Also, when addressing people in a meeting, it's best to say, "Hello, everyone," or "Hey, team." You'll want to avoid "Hey, guys", or similar phrases, since "guys" is typically masculine.


What if I don’t want to share my pronouns?

It is ok if you do not want to share your pronoun. Providing space and opportunity for people to share their pronouns does not mean that everyone will feel comfortable enough to share their pronouns or has to share. In the case that someone has left pronouns off the nametag, email signature or chosen not to share their pronouns, please refrain from using pronouns for that person and refer to the person by Name. 


Common Mistakes

Avoid saying "preferred" pronouns. Despite the popularity of the term, it's incorrect, since "preferred" implies someone's gender is a preference. Also, avoid doubting a pronoun is real or telling someone that their pronoun is grammatically incorrect or giving up before you even start and telling them you’ll just use their name. This will be new to a lot of people, but it is important to become more aware.


The important thing to do after learning someone’s pronouns is remembering to use those pronouns when referring to that person. If you accidentally use the wrong pronoun when identifying someone, please correct yourself in front of that person in that moment and begin using the right pronoun.  Don’t try to explain your mistake with a comment about someone’s voice or appearance. You can apologize in that moment, but own the mistake and move on.


However, don’t dwell on it. Dwelling on it can make a small mistake worse. An example of this is, by instinct you might want to keep talking about how sorry you are, or how hard you’re trying, but by doing this you’re ultimately asking them to take on responsibility for making you feel better or relieving your guilt. This also applies to asking questions. No one is required to answer your inquiries.





Cisgender: A person whose gender identity and expression are

aligned with the gender they were assigned at birth.


Cisnormativity: The assumption that cisgender identity is the norm,

which plays out in interpersonal interactions and institutional privileges

that further the marginalization of transgender people.


Gender: A set of cultural identities, expressions and roles – codified as

feminine or masculine – that are assigned to people based upon the

interpretation of their bodies, and more specifically, their sexual and

reproductive anatomy. Since gender is a social construction, it is

possible to reject or modify the gender one is assigned at birth, and to

develop, live and express a gender that feels truer and just to oneself.


Gender Binary: A socially constructed system of viewing gender as

consisting solely of two categories, “male” and “female,” in which no

other possibilities for gender are believed to exist. The gender binary

is a restrictive and inaccurate way to view gender because it does not

take into account the diversity of gender identities and gender

expressions among all people. The gender binary is oppressive to

anyone that does not conform to dominant societal gender norms.


Gender Expression: The multiple ways (e.g., behaviors, dress) in

which a person may choose to communicate gender to oneself and/or

to others.


Gender Identity: A personal conception of oneself as male, female,

both, neither and/or another gender. Gender identity can be the same

as or different from the gender a person is assigned at birth. Gender

identity is a matter of self-identification; no one can tell anyone else

how to identify or what terms to use. Gender identity is different from

sexual orientation, and everyone has both a gender identity and a

sexual orientation.


Gender Non-binary: An umbrella term for gender identities used by

people whose gender is not exclusively male or female.


Gender Nonconforming: A descriptive term and/or identity of a

person who has a gender identity and/or expression that does not

conform to the traditional expectations of the gender they were

assigned at birth. People who identify as “gender nonconforming” or

“gender variant” may or may not also identify as “transgender.”


Pronouns: The pronoun or set of pronouns that a person identifies

with and would like to be called when their proper name is not being

used. Examples include “she/her/hers,” “he/him/his,” ze/hir/hirs,” and

“they/them/theirs.” Some people prefer no pronouns at all.


Transgender: An umbrella term describing people whose gender

identity does not match the gender they were assigned at birth.





Forsey, Caroline. “Gender Neutral Pronouns: What They Are & How to Use Them”


Viv, Stav. “A Guide to Using Pronouns and Other Gender-Inclusive Language in the Office”. The Muse.

Retrieved from


The Third Circuit Court Diversity and Inclusion Team’s Mission: "We appreciate our common connection and respect our diverse and unique human experiences. We move forward as an inclusive organization as we provide accessible and equal justice."

The Court’s Diversity & Inclusion Team strives to ensure the values of its diverse bench, staff, and court users are acknowledged and reflected in our delivery of service as well as our work environment.

In that spirit, the team creates and shares a monthly list of various holidays and observations along with some celebration suggestions. We invite our work community and the community at large to contribute.

APRIL 2023

April 1 – April Fool’s Day,

April 1 - International Fun at Work Day

April 1 - Odisha Foundation Day

April 2 – World Autism Awareness Day,

April 2 - Palm Sunday

April 5 – Start of Passover

April 7 – Good Friday

April 9 – Easter

April 13 – End of Passover, Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

April 14 – National Day of Silence (LGBTQ+)

April 15 - Titanic Remembrance Day

April 16 – National Stress Awareness Day

April 20 – Chinese Language Day

April 21 – End of Ramadan

April 22 – Earth Day,

April 22 - Eid al-Fitr celebration begin

April 27 – Administrative Professionals’ Day

April 28 – Take Your Daughter and Son to Work Day

Visit our Website