Janet Protasiewicz
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, State of Wisconsin
, Wisconsin
email janet.protasiewicz@gmail.com
phone 414-510-7488
For the 24 years that I was a prosecutor in Milwaukee County, collaboration with other legal professionals, as well as law enforcement, social workers, probation agents, expert witnesses, and medical professionals was an integral part of my career. My practice for many years was in the juvenile justice system, which is far more collaborative, and less adversarial, than adult courts, where the "best interests of the child" is the legal standard, and services are provided to families toward that goal. In 2014, when I was elected a Judge in the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, the relationships I built as an attorney formed the foundation for my moving to a position as the decision maker, rather than a participant in the process, to achieve equal justice for all persons who appear before me as defendants, victims, witnesses, jurors, or members of the legal profession.

Board Profile

I have been a board member for several non-profit organizations. While I belong to numerous legal associations, my board experience was with the Marquette University Law School, to assist students coming into the profession. The other boards I have served on run a wide variety of cultural, civic, and religious organizations in Milwaukee. While I am not a board member, I am active in fund raising and community service events of other organizations I belong to, including TEMPO Milwaukee, Rotary Club of Milwaukee, and Women's Court & Civic Conference of Greater Milwaukee. I also am active in professional organizations including the Fairchild Inns of Courts, Serjeant's Inns of Courts, State Bar of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Bar Association, and the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association.

Board Experience

I served on the Marquette University Law School Alumni Board from 2011-2019, until reaching the term limit, serving for two years as President of that organization, which oversaw fundraising efforts and events for the law school, such as the Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction to fund scholarships for law students doing public interest legal fellowships. I am currently a board member of the Basilica of St. Josephat Foundation, which raises funds through donations and a gala dinner and auction event for capital maintenance and improvements of this 1901 architectural gem on the south side of Milwaukee, while being an involved parish member in the vibrant community of the parish. I am currently a board member of the Polish Heritage Alliance of the Polish Center of Wisconsin, recruiting members, planning events and staffing at the Center and for Polish Fest, for both fundraising and the life of this great cultural heritage organization. While on the board of the Red Cross of Southeastern Wisconsin, I would organize teams of volunteers for annual events for installation of donated smoke detectors in the inner city of Milwaukee annually. I am a member of the Journey House Foundation, which is a community organization providing to underserved communities, where I was formerly chair of the “Girls in the House” program, including hosting girls in my home for cooking lessons and mentorship. During my term on the board of Professional Dimensions, I chaired the annual fundraiser Sacagawea Award gala, and I am still an active member of the organization.

Professional Summary

After receiving my Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1985, where I majored in History, I received my Juris Doctor degree from the Marquette University Law School in 1988. From 1988-2014, I was an Assistant District Attorney in Milwaukee County, with varied assignments in the adult and juvenile justice system, before being elected to the Circuit Court as a Judge in 2014, which is my present position. In addition, I was an Adjunct Professor teaching trial advocacy at Marquette Law School from 2013-2016 each spring semester. From 1998-2003, I spent several weeks each year as a Faculty member at the United States Department of Justice – National Trial Advocacy Center, in Columbia, South Carolina, where I taught litigation, evidence, and strategic trial technique to State and Federal Prosecutors.

Recognition & Awards

I graduated the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Magna Cum Laude, and am a member of the Phi Beta Kappa. As an Attorney, I was honored by the Association of Women Lawyers (AWL) with an award, recognized with a Women In The Law award from the Wisconsin Law Journal, and am a University of Wisconsin Fellow.


I am lucky to be married to Attorney Greg Sell, who is a true life partner and my greatest supporter. We enjoy going to National Parks and other travel adventures, including Spring Training for the Brewers. Greg went to the University of Wisconsin Law School, so we are avid Badger fans, as well as Bucks, Brewers, and of course, Packer fanatics. Our home is shared by our rescued cat Comet and newly adopted German Shepherd Cisco, who is described as "high energy", and who we met in Arizona at Spring Training. When not trying to wear out the dog with long walks and pool time, I frequent the Milwaukee Zoo, Ballet, Milwaukee Rep, festivals, concerts over a wide genre of musical tastes, am in several book clubs, and attend numerous judicial trainings throughout the year.