Whitmer Appoints Battle Creek Legal Services Manager to the Bench
Alisa Parker-LaGrone has had quite a year. She recently was married, and in three weeks she’ll start a new job. Many in Calhoun County know Parker-LaGrone as a managing attorney at Legal Services of South Central Michigan. She’s appeared on the WBCK Morning Show to let people know that they’re there to help with tenant-landlord disputes and other legal matters. Recently she told us about the new expungement laws in Michigan, designed to help get ex-convicts back into society. She is also co-founder of ANP Consulting LLC, a social innovation consulting firm that equips change agents with the tools and strategies to implement transformation.
Today, Governor Whitmer appointed Parker-LaGrone and Namita Sharma to the 8th District Court of Kalamazoo County.
“I am proud to appoint Alisa and Namita to the 8th District Court in Kalamazoo County,” said Governor Whitmer. “They will bring decades of experience to the bench, and I am grateful to both of them for bringing their perspectives to serving the people of Michigan.”
Parker-LaGrone tells WBCK that she will be leaving Legal Services, on Territorial Road in Battle Creek, at the end of October, and will start her new job as District Court Judge on November 1st. She said that Anna Moss, who has worked as her co-manager for about four years, will take her place in the Battle Creek office. “She is an incredible attorney, and I trust her ability to continue to do great work for the community.”
Parker-LaGrone earned her Juris Doctor degree from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, Master of Business Administration from Western Michigan University, and Bachelor of Arts degree from Fisk University. She serves on multiple boards and committees including chair of the State Bar Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, a founding member of the Judge Charles A. Pratt Bar Association, a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a founding member of Sisters in Business, and a board member of Charlie’s P.L.A.C.E. Alisa lives in Kalamazoo with her husband, Lyonel.
“At this moment, I can’t help but to think of the late Judge Charles Pratt, who was the first African American Judge in Kalamazoo and served in the 8th District Court,” said Parker-LaGrone. “I stand on his shoulders and the love of so many who inspire me to live a life of service and to believe that a little girl from the Northside of Kalamazoo can achieve her wildest dreams.”
This appointment was made to fill a partial term, which expires at noon on January 1, 2023, after Judge Anne E. Blatchford stepped down effective July 1, 2021. If Ms. Parker-LaGrone wishes to serve the remainder of Judge Blatchford’s term, expiring January 1, 2025, she would be required to run for reelection in November of 2022.
Namita Sharma currently works as an attorney and partner with Brueggemann & Sharma, P.C. In her practice, she focuses on civil, family, and probate law. Before starting her law firm in 2002, Sharma was an attorney with Gergely Law Offices, P.C. with an emphasis on family and probate law, and an attorney with the Western Michigan Legal Aid. She also worked as a law clerk for the Hon. Kurtis J. Wilder at the Washtenaw Circuit Court.
Sharma earned her Juris Doctor degree from the Detroit College of Law and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan. She is the treasurer of the Judge Charles A. Pratt Bar Association, board president for Communities in Schools of Kalamazoo, board president for Kalamazoo Ready 4’s, and a member of the Boys and Girls Club of Kalamazoo Capital Campaign. Namita lives in Kalamazoo with her husband, Rex.
“I am honored and humbled to have been appointed by Governor Whitmer to the 8th District Court,” said Sharma. “I have worked hard to help children and families through my practice and volunteer work. I look forward to serving the citizens of Kalamazoo as a judge, and I vow to be fair and impartial.”
This appointment was made to fill a partial term, which expires at noon on January 1, 2023, after Judge Julie K. Phillips stepped down effective September 14, 2021. If Ms. Sharma wishes to serve the remainder of Judge Phillips’s term, expiring January 1, 2027, she would be required to run for reelection in November of 2022.
Judicial appointments are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.