Judge Joanne Kloppenburg


Wisconsin Court of Appeals Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg has been serving the people of Wisconsin for more than 25 years. She has a proven track record as a thoughtful, fair and impartial arbiter of the law and, as a lawyer and as a judge, for standing up for all the people of Wisconsin.

Presiding Judge

Elected to the Court of Appeals in 2012, she is currently the presiding Judge for the Court’s District Four. Wisconsin’s Court of Appeals is a busy appellate court deciding approximately 3000 cases a year. It is the court directly below the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Judge Kloppenburg has issued hundreds of opinions in all areas of the law since joining the court. She has also performed lots of weddings!


Before being elected to the Court of Appeals, Judge Kloppenburg served for 23 years (1989-2012) as an assistant attorney general at the Wisconsin Department of Justice. As a prosecutor and a litigator, she handled cases in many areas of the law including constitutional law, administrative law, environmental law, and all aspects of civil litigation in circuit courts around the State and in federal court. She argued before the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. At the Department of Justice, she worked with both Republican and Democratic Attorneys General.


Judge Kloppenburg graduated with honors and awards from the UW Law School (1988). She then worked as a law clerk for Chief Judge Barbara Crabb in federal district court in Madison for just over a year before joining the Department of Justice. During law school, she taught legal writing and interned on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Before going to law school, she served in the Peace Corps in Botswana in southern Africa (1976-1979), established a nutrition program for women and children in upstate New York (1980-81), and worked as a college administrator (1981-84).

She earned her B.A. at Yale University (1974), and her M.P.A. at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton (1976), with scholarships, fellowships and many different jobs all along the way.

Community Involvement

Active in the legal profession as well as the broader community, Judge Kloppenburg is a board member of the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation (2013-present); serves as a mentor for the Dane County Bar Association and UW Law School (2011-present); and has previously served as a volunteer mediator, Dane County Bar Association (2010-2012); a volunteer at the Dane County Bar Foreclosure Clinic (2010-2012); a Neighborhood Association Volunteer and Board Member (2000-2012); an English as a Second Language (ESL) Tutor (2004-2010); and a board member of Legal Action of Wisconsin (LAW) (1991-1993). Judge Kloppenburg has taught at the UW Law School since 1990, and received the Adjunct Instructor of the Year Award in 2011. She has served as a judge for the Wisconsin High School Mock Trial Tournament and for the UW Law School and Marquette Law School Mock Court competitions. She has also spoken to bar associations around the state on issues related to appellate and civil litigation, as well as on women judges in Wisconsin.

She and her husband Jack, a native of Milwaukee, have three grown children.

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