Wunsch: Court Workers Are The Backbone of The Justice System

Judges and attorneys may be the most publicly visible personalities in the courtroom but behind their very important work exists a network of courtroom positions that form the superstructure of Orange County’s justice system.

My name is LeAnne Wunsch, and I began working for the Orange County Superior Court in 1991. I am a court clerk in the busy courtroom of a Family Law judge. I help keep the Courtroom calendar that allows the public to have access to justice. My fellow court clerks and I make sure witnesses are properly sworn, and hearings are accurately documented in the form of a “Minute Order” which in some cases is the only record of an order issued by the judge. We work with attorneys and the public to ensure that the Court works in an efficient manner.

Growing up in Orange County, I never imagined a career in the justice system. I started out in the catering business and during a lull in the work, I was encouraged to apply for an open Superior Court clerical position. My first job was in the file room but I didn’t stay there very long. When I moved up to Court Clerk, I knew I was in the right place because I was part of something bigger than myself and able to work with an amazing group of talented public service professionals.

When at work I have no doubt that we have the respect of our judges and attorneys but when we ask our employer to demonstrate respect for us with fair wages, it’s a different story. Over the past decade Court workers have seen their wages stagnate while the cost of living has continued to rise. Some of our workers have seen their hours cut at the same time that their workloads have increased. These factors do not help provide our community the access to justice it deserves.

Family Court where I work presents a unique set of challenges. Often their Family Court interaction is the most stress a family has ever experienced, but the professional clerks and other OC Superior Court staff help relieve some of that stress and build trust in our system of law and justice.

The job isn’t for everyone. It requires organization, management skills, and people skills, and the stress levels can get high.

Over the years, I have kept my optimism about what a career in the justice system can mean personally and to our families. I believe that if people knew exactly what we do, the community would feel more confidence in our justice system. My co-workers and I stand together each day to ensure that every resident of Orange County is afforded the respect and rights ensured by our democracy.

People need to have their day in court. They deserve to be heard. Court staff work hard to make sure that happens and it’s personally very rewarding. We are proud of what we do and it’s time for us to be treated fairly in the workplace we call the justice system.

LeAnne Wunsch has served the residents of Orange County since 1991 beginning her career as a File Clerk. As a Superior Court Clerk III, she has worked in several Court divisions and is currently assigned to Family Law.

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