Select company District court judges honored as 'Esteemed Women'


By Mike Scott
Legal News

Two Oakland County judges, both Rochester area residents, were among a select group of women honored in late September for professional excellence.
The Esteemed Women of Michigan luncheon recognized women who have risen above circumstances, inspired others, and served as a “beacon of hope” for today’s youth.
Among those honored during the ceremony last month at The Royal Park Hotel in Rochester were Judges Lisa Asadoorian and Julie Nicholson of 52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan, former Channel 7 anchor Doris Biscoe and State Representative Alma Wheeler Smith also were among the honorees. Channel 7 Action News anchor Diana Lewis hosted the event, which was sponsored by the Gary Burnstein Community Clinic and Quicken Loans.
Asadoorian was humbled and floored by the recognition..
“I really look at my role as being a hard worker and a public servant,” Asadoorian said. “It is the hardest job I have had, but the most enjoyable one I have had. And it is the most rewarding.”
She knows about “a dozen” of her fellow honorees on at least a casual basis and greatly admires what Justice Corrigan has achieved in her career.
But one of the links that connects all the women is their commitment to the community and charitable causes, as well as their professional success, Asadoorian said.
Asadoorian hosts a mock trial program twice monthly where she invites local fourth and fifth grade classes to the courthouse.
Students conduct a trial, tour the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, and then observe actual court cases in her courtroom.
“I try to lead by example in my career and I am involved in a number of community service organizations (such as HAVEN, Rochester Area Jaycees, Holiday Helpers of Rochester Hills, several chambers of commerce and more),”  Asadoordian said. “But when I look at what these other women accomplish, I am really floored. They are making such a positive difference in their communities.”
Nicholson has been on the bench for 52-3 District Court for 14 years and she was “humbled” by the award as well.
She is also an active part of the local Rochester community and is a board member of the Rainbow Connection and the North Oakland YMCA in Auburn Hills, among other volunteer responsibilities.
 “The great thing about this position is that it allows you to become very active in the community and you get to know local leaders who are doing great things to support our people, our community and our businesses,” Nicholson said. “When you’re on the bench of the people’s court (district court), that is part of your role.”
Asadoorian’s philosophy is to complete projects and tasks in a “bigger and better” way each day. It is a type of mantra that she has practiced throughout her judicial career.
In fact, it was part of her speech to a group of fifth-graders who visited 52-3 District Court in early October, an age group that Asadoorian regularly hosts from around southeastern Michigan.
“I’m living proof that if you are hard working and your goal is to do things the right way, then you can make a positive difference in the community just by doing your job,” Asadoorian said. “My role (as a judge) is not about trophies and plaques or awards, and it doesn’t give you an edge based on your gender,”
Asadoorian has been on the bench for more than 10 years and was the last link to one of the first all-female courts in Michigan, one that includes Nicholson and The Hon. Nancy Carniak.
But becoming a judge was a goal since her early days as an assistant prosecutor.
Nicholson was elected in 1996 and takes pride in being part of a bench that includes three female judges.
“When I first started on the bench I was sometimes mistaken for a court reporter when I arrived,” Nicholson said with a smile. “I do think that having four out of the 10 judges in Oakland County District Court as females is an asset.”
Nicholson spends some of her free time going to area elementary, middle, and high schools to teach students about the law and how it relates to alcohol and drug abuse.
It is her goal to reach at least one to two children every time she visits a school because it is her goal to reduce the load on her own docket.
“I’m not like a business in this sense because I want less work in the courtroom, which means our community (is making progress),” Nicholson said. “Working with students gives me a sense of fulfillment. We often see some of the bad characteristics of our society in the courtroom and I want to reduce those instances.”
Asadoorian recognizes that she is part of a “special community” filled with exceptional people.
“You really can say that Rochester has a lot of do-gooders and many of them are in positions of community or corporate leadership,” Asadoorian said. “It was a wonderful event that left everyone in attendance closer to each other than when they arrived. I guess you could say (the honorees) are connected by a desire to help others.”