Circuit court judge honored as 'WONder Woman'

By Tom Kirvan
Legal News
As a prominent jurist, Oakland County Circuit Judge Wendy Potts has been the recipient of a host of coveted awards over the course of her nearly 20-year career on the bench, earning recognition from state and county bar associations for her efforts to “champion” justice.
This evening, Potts will enter rarefied air again when she receives a “WONder Woman Award” from the Women Officials Network Foundation during its 32nd annual banquet in Troy. Potts, who has been a circuit court judge since 1997, will be one of five women honored at the banquet, which will be held at the San Marino Club. 

Other award recipients include Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, director of Hurley’s Pediatric Residency Program in Flint; Mary Liz Curtin, philanthropist and owner of Leon & Lulu; Jan Roncelli, Bloomfield Township clerk; and Paula Tutman, novelist and Emmy Award winning journalist.

A native of Detroit and a graduate of Mumford High School, Potts served as chief judge of the Oakland Circuit Court from 2004-10 and, as head of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, was credited with helping spearhead changes in the state’s jail overcrowding statutes. 

In 2010, she was honored by the State Bar of Michigan with the Champion of Justice Award and has received the Distinguished Service Award from the Oakland County Bar Association, along with the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award.

Last year, Potts was among the “Women in the Law” honorees recognized by Michigan Lawyers Weekly, and she has been a strong proponent of the drug treatment courts in Oakland County, helping create The RESTORE Foundation to provide funding support for the program.

During her six years as chief judge, Potts helped champion the e-filing program for the circuit court in an effort to improve judicial efficiency and to trim costs. 

A past president of the OCBA, Potts formerly served as secretary of the State Bar.

In 2013, the Michigan Supreme Court chose Potts and her circuit court colleague James Alexander to serve as judges on the newly created Oakland County Business Court.

A University of Michigan alum, Potts began her professional career as an educator, teaching ninth grade math and English in Detroit for seven years. 

She attended law school at Wayne State University and clerked for the state Court of Appeals, eventually joining the firm of Hill Lewis, now known as Clark Hill in Detroit.
She and her husband, David, an attorney in Bloomfield Hills, met while students at Wayne State Law School. The couple has two daughters, Kelly and Stephanie.