Name: Kathleen Chamberlin
Title: Operations Manager
Court: Washington Eastern Bankruptcy Court
MSU Program: Judicial Administration Non‐Credit Certificate
Graduation Date: June 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland
How has your participation in the MSU program impacted your career?
I started with the Eastern District of Washington Bankruptcy Court in 2011 as a Case Administrator. In 2012, I was promoted to Case Administrator III—Team Lead and then to Case Management Supervisor in 2013. In 2017, I became the Operations Manager. My Clerk of Court took a chance on hiring someone with no legal or court experience and I was determined to prove she made the right decision. Participation in the MSU program gave me the confidence to pursue opportunities for professional growth such as training programs offered through the FJC, participation in the NCBC Mentorship Program as a mentee and mentor, and most recently, selection as a member of the Bankruptcy Noticing Working Group.
What other benefits has the program brought into your life?
I came from the private industry and city government with little to no idea about how the federal court system operated. The MSU program gave me history and insight into the workings of the judiciary and made me proud to be a part of it. It also offered a network of other judiciary employees I could connect with and learn from.
What was the time commitment for your program? How did you integrate that into your lifestyle?
My youngest had graduated and was heading off to college, so the timing was perfect. I wanted to challenge myself and complete it in a year, so I dove right in and did it. With my empty nest, it was easy to integrate into my lifestyle. It was a fun way to connect with my kids in college by discussing our classes and assignments.
What format (or formats) did you use to complete your program? What did you like best about each one?
I used the online format, which allowed me the flexibility I needed. If I had decided to take longer to complete the courses, I think taking an MSU course at NCBC would have been a great way to meet the other MSU participants and course instructors in person.
What tips or ideas can you share about finding a work/life balance that is conducive to achieving success in this program?
Although the MSU program is ending, there are many opportunities and programs to take advantage of and I would share the following tips for any program you decide to take. First, don’t stress about it. It will fall into place for you. Second, use your resources! There are many in the judiciary, locally and nationwide. Third, take the time to enjoy the interaction with your colleagues because those are contacts you will take with you long after the program is completed.
Are there any last thoughts or maybe a piece of advice you'd like to share with us?
You get out of your job what you put into it. Put yourself out there, be engaged, and take advantage of the opportunities for personal and professional growth that are available to us.