Area native serves as NALS of Jackson County president

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Photo by Mary Steinmetz

Court recorder and judicial secretary for Jackson County District Court Judge Darryl Mazur, Jennifer Meade is in her second term as president of NALS of Jackson County, an association for legal professionals including paralegals, legal secretaries, legal assistants, and all members of the legal support industry.


By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News

In 1983, Jennifer Meade was working part time at the Jackson Citizen Patriot newspaper when she found out through friends about a clerical job opening at the 13th District Court.

“I worked part-time for the 13th District Court, and when the 12th and 13th District Court merged in 1986, continued to work for the 12th District Court in the same capacity,” says Meade, who recently started her second term as president of NALS of Jackson County.

The tri-level association—national, state and local— for legal professionals including paralegals, legal secretaries, legal assistants, and all members of the legal support industry, offers continuing education, certification, networking and events, to name just a few benefits.

Laid off in 1988 for a short period of time, Meade worked for Jackson attorney Robert Flack before returning to work for the 12th District Court later that year. She then spent several years as a clerk in each of the various departments: traffic, criminal, civil, and probation.

Hired in 1996 as a court recorder and judicial secretary by now-retired 12th District Court Judge Carlene Lefere (Walz), Meade has since worked in that capacity for District Court Judge Darryl Mazur through his full term; the two will both retire December 31, 2020.

“I’ve enjoyed the people I work with, the friends I’ve made over the years, the variety of work in the courtroom,” Meade says, adding that she enjoys the continuing education within the court as well as through associations like NALS and the Michigan Electronic Court Reporters Association (MECRA). Meade sports the designation CER, or Certified Electronic Recorder, certified to record depositions and court proceedings using digital and analog recording equipment, and to prepare and certify transcripts.

“And Judge Mazur is a huge music buff, so when we’re not on the bench, he’s rocking it out from his office with a wide variety of tunes,” she says with a smile.

In addition to serving as NALS of Jackson County president, Meade—a NALS member since 1996/1997—is programs chair and continues to provide education on a local level. Her goal is to increase membership, and make the association known to the legal community and public.

“We have fund-raising events to raise money for our scholarship fund and also to participate in community events,” she says. “Some of our members volunteered for the Childrenz Challenge last year and will again this year.”

Meade has volunteered for the Childrenz Challenge every year since its inception, working with event founder, Scott Vitale, a probation officer at the Court. This obstacle course for children ages 4 to 14 will be held this year on Saturday, Aug. 18, at Michigan International Speedway.

“Watching the kids do this ‘Tough Mudder’ type of event is so much fun and they have such a great time,” she says. “And the Childrenz Challenge gives a lot back to the schools, students, and the community.”

Meade also has been involved in the Law Enforcement Torch Run Special Olympics event for almost 20 years, helping organize fundraising events including the local run on Sept. 11, at the Kit Young Center on Parnall Road. The Torch Run program, that raises funds for more than 27,000 athletes who participate in Special Olympics Michigan, helps raise funds and create awareness for the athletes.

“In years past we did a convoy from Lansing to Jackson and a pig roast at Cooperstown, and other events,” Meade says. “Our most popular event is the Polar Bear Plunge. I’ve also attended several kick-off conferences around the state and attended Summer Games.

“There’s nothing like seeing the joy on an athlete’s face that pulls you in and makes you just want to be a part of it all.”

After losing her mother, Janine Walker, to cancer in 1998, Meade also participated In the American Cancer Society’s local Relay for Life.

A native of Napoleon Township near Jackson, Meade lived in Michigan Center for 18 years, before buying the house and property where she grew up, and where she currently makes her home.

The divorced mother of a son and daughter, Meade enjoys spending time with her two grandchildren.

“They light up my life these days,” she says. She also is very close to her neighbor, Wilma Wood, who with her late husband Jack has been extended family. “I grew up with their boys, they are grandparents to my children, and grammy to my grandkids,” she says.

In her leisure time, Meade enjoys music, concerts, travel, reading, canoeing and tubing, horseback riding, spending time with friends—“and being a grandma,” she says.

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