"I love the work I do,” Michelle Baldwin said, who brings both a passion for her work and compassion for people to her new position as a provincial court judge in Meadow Lake.
Baldwin was honoured in a special ceremony at North Battleford provincial court Friday. Her official swearing in took place June 12, following her appointment June 8.
“I’m mindful of the human cost of justice and the toll that it takes on the individuals we deal with every day,” Baldwin said in her speech to the courtroom, filled with colleagues, family and friends.
“I know the job we do is an important one, but I believe in it. I believe in the justice system.”
Prior to her appointment, Baldwin practised as a prosecuting attorney in North Battleford and served in Meadow Lake since 2013. She became a lawyer in 2006. Baldwin entered law school as a mature student after 20 years working as a legal assistant and a paralegal.
Many of the speakers at the ceremony recognized Baldwin for her work in the North – Iqaluit and Yellowknife – where she worked with Nunavut prosecutions.
“My experience in the North, I think, is really what opened my eyes to toll that the justice system can take on people, and usually Indigenous people,” she said. “I think that became sort of a passion for me to try and do better – to do better as a justice system.
“I guess I just always saw my job as something that should try to make things better,” she added.
As a single mother, Baldwin said it was initially challenging for her to return to law school when she did and then move to Northern Canada.
When Associate Chief Judge Murray Hinds introduced Baldwin he said she was appointed as a judge because of her experience and ability as a lawyer, alongside her integrity and temperament.
North Battleford Crown attorney Jennifer Schmidt who attended law school with Baldwin gave a particularly touching speech about Baldwin’s strong support as a friend throughout the years and her dedication to her work in public service.
“I am proud to say she is one of my closest friends,” Schmidt said.
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