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Hon. Darlene A. O'Brien

Washtenaw County Probate Court
Ann Arbor, Michigan


Hon. Darlene A. O'Brien has served as a Washtenaw County trial court judge since 2006. In addition to experience in probate and mental health, juvenile delinquency, and abuse and neglect cases, Judge O'Brien hears domestic relations and felony criminal cases. Following graduation from Notre Dame Law School and a federal judicial clerkship, Judge O'Brien had an active trial practice for 24 years, representing clients in criminal and civil matters, including those heard in probate and family court. She has civil court mediator training and served as a case evaluator for the 15th District Court. Judge O’Brien is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the American Bar Association, the Washtenaw County Bar Association, the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, and the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan. In 2005, the Women Lawyers of Michigan, Washtenaw Chapter, presented her with the Mary E. Foster Award for leadership and contributions to women; in 2007, she was presented the Bernard J. O'Connor Award by the Dispute Resolution Center for the just and humane resolution of disputes; in 2012 she was Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School's Ann Arbor Integrity in the Community honoree; and in 2015 the Washtenaw Association for Justice honored her with the Justice Marilyn Kelly Award for Judicial Excellence. Judge O'Brien has served as a commentator for ICLE courses and has been a facilitator at ICLE's Deposition Skills Workshops. She is a member of the Michigan Probate Judges Association, serves on its Executive Board, and has been liaison to the Council of the Probate and Estate Planning Section, State Bar of Michigan. Judge O'Brien has served as a member of the Mediator Standards of Conduct Committee, Michigan Supreme Court, and as a team leader for Washtenaw County American Inn of Court (2011-2013). She cochairs the Washtenaw County School-Justice Partnership Team.

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