Kentucky Court of Justice
Laurie K. Dudgeon named to head Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts
FRANKFORT, Ky. – A Kentucky native with experience as a practicing attorney who has held positions with the Executive and Judicial branches of state government has been named to head the administrative arm of the state court system. Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. today appointed Laurie K. Dudgeon as director of the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts.
Ms. Dudgeon will be responsible for the daily operations of the AOC, the agency that provides operational support for 3,800 court system employees, including the elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks.
Ms. Dudgeon was named deputy director of the AOC in July 2007 and has served in the capacity of director since former Director Jason M. Nemes left the post April 3 to join the law firm of Dinsmore & Shohl. She has overseen the daily operations of the court system, assisted in administering the $300 million Judicial Branch budget, drafted and worked for passage of legislation affecting the courts, and worked with officials at the county and state levels.
“Laurie Dudgeon has practiced law in Kentucky courts and is familiar with state government,” Chief Justice Minton said. “She was born and raised in Somerset and she knows Kentucky. She brings a broad base of experience that will be very beneficial to her role as AOC director. She is a clear thinker and a calm decider, which are important attributes for this position. Since joining the AOC, she has proven to be a person of integrity who is able to quickly grasp the issues and make solid decisions that are in the best interest of the public we serve.”
“It’s a tremendous honor to be chosen for this position by Chief Justice Minton,” Ms. Dudgeon said. “I have a great deal of respect for his leadership and vision for an open and independent judiciary. I look forward to helping the court system adapt to the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”
Chief Justice Minton said Ms. Dudgeon was chosen from several highly qualified candidates during a national search conducted by the National Center for State Courts. “I retained the NCSC to facilitate finding a new director,” he said. “The NCSC assured the integrity of the selection process by vetting the applicants and identifying the top candidates, all of whom I personally interviewed. Having worked with Laurie for the past two years, the NCSC staff is well aware of the strengths she brings to this position and fully supports my decision.”
“I have known Laurie since she was a child growing up in Somerset,” said Supreme Court Justice Daniel J. Venters, whose Supreme Court District includes Pulaski County. “She comes from a very good family that instilled in her a strong, honest work ethic. She is as smart as they come. I know she will make her hometown proud and I look forward to working with her in her new role as AOC director.”
Ms. Dudgeon came to the AOC after serving as executive director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, which coordinates Kentucky's response and long-range planning regarding substance abuse. She assumed that position by gubernatorial appointment in 2006. Her experience with state government began in 2005 when she joined the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet as a staff attorney. Prior to her work with the Justice Cabinet, she spent nine years in private practice where she concentrated on constitutional law, employment law, administrative law, and commercial and residential real estate law. During that time she practiced with Hazelrigg & Cox of Frankfort, Ky., Walther, Roark, Gay & Todd of Lexington, Ky., and Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough of Columbia, S.C.
She graduated with a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Kentucky in 1991 and a juris doctor from the UK College of Law in 1994.
In 2007, Ms. Dudgeon received the Secretary’s Award for Superior Performance from the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, the Commissioner’s Second Chance Team Award from the Kentucky Department of Corrections and the Service Award Recognition for Drug Enforcement Efforts in the Commonwealth from the Kentucky Narcotics Officers Association.
Ms. Dudgeon currently serves on the Governor’s Recovery Kentucky Task Force and has been actively involved with Hospice of the Bluegrass, the American Cancer Society and New Horizons Child Development Center. She resides in Frankfort with her two children, Kathleen, 10, and Tate, 7.