New 61st District Court judge picks up the gavel
Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced his choice to fill the 61st District Court seat vacated by Judge J. Michael Christensen.
Jennifer L. Faber, an attorney with Sherlund Faber & Van Meter in Grand Rapids, will fill out Christensen’s term.
Christensen announced his decision to retire in June, with approximately a year and a half remaining of his elected term.
“Through her practice in 61st District Court and throughout West Michigan, Jennifer Faber has built a reputation as an excellent attorney with a deep commitment to the well-being of the Grand Rapids community,” Snyder said.
“I was very excited to learn of my appointment from the governor, because I see this as a great opportunity to serve the Grand Rapids community in a new capacity,” Faber said. “I also am looking forward to the professional challenge of this position, and I hope that I can bring new ideas and new enthusiasm to an excellent court.”
Faber will begin her new role Nov. 18.
“It has been very hectic wrapping up my practice and making sure that all of my clients’ needs are met, while at the same time I have been busy learning the behind-the-scenes functioning of the 61st District Court,” she said.
“My new colleagues have been very welcoming and helpful to me,” she added.
Faber has been a practicing attorney for 15 years. She has been a managing partner at Sherlund, Faber & Van Meter since 2001. She said she has had experience with nearly every type of case that passes through the District Court.
“A substantial part of my practice involved such cases, representing clients on both sides,” she said. “I have represented tenants and landlords, plaintiffs and defendants, and have prosecuted cases on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office and been a criminal defense attorney.
“I had a very busy general practice involving family law, criminal and civil cases. I was very active representing children and parents in abuse, neglect and delinquency cases, and I represented property management companies as well as individual tenants and landlords.”
As a 61st District Court judge, Faber will hear cases involving criminal misdemeanors, felony probable cause hearings, civil cases valued at under $25,000 in dispute, small claims court and traffic matters.
Looking back, Faber said law was always something she’d considered as a career.
“As an undergraduate I majored in political science, and after college I spent a year working on a congressional campaign in North Carolina and with the local District Attorney’s Office. This convinced me that I wanted to pursue a career in law,” she said.
Faber received her bachelor’s degree from Lenoir-Rhyne College and a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
A native of Grand Rapids, Faber’s family moved to North Carolina when she was 10 years old. She returned to Grand Rapids following law school in 1999, and has been a resident ever since.
She has a strong commitment to the legal profession.
“I have served on various committees of the Grand Rapids Bar Association,” she said. “My involvement also extends to the Constitution and Law Day programs, which allow us as lawyers to teach school children about the law.”
She also has participated in the annual Women Lawyers vs. Judges charity softball game, which has raised tens of thousands of dollars in support of the domestic violence programs and services of the YWCA.
She said she has a strong commitment and appreciation for the Grand Rapids community.
“I am very proud of the Grand Rapids community and the people that live here,” she said. “We are blessed to have many local philanthropists and citizens that contribute to what I believe is a great community. It has been exciting to witness and participate in the tremendous growth and rejuvenation of our city.”
Her appointment will end in 2016, at which time she plans to run for a full six-year term.