CITY OF BROOKFIELD – A Brookfield man has a new job and a lot of new responsibilities this month.
Stephen C. Dries has been named the new clerk for the judges of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
The Eastern District includes 28 counties in Wisconsin and covers over 3 million residents.
Dries, a Wauwatosa native, is a graduate of Marquette University High School and has honors degrees from Georgetown University and the University of Wisconsin Law School. He is currently enrolled in Michigan State University’s judicial administration program.
“It’s an exciting role for a history buff like me. There are only 94 clerks of federal district court in the entire nation, so it’s a very small club,” Dries said. “I heard something about an ancient hazing ritual, but haven’t experienced it yet.”
The Clerk of Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin is responsible for overseeing around 30 employees who manage cases for judges.
"There are about 1,800 civil cases and 200 criminal cases filed each year in our district, which spans the entire eastern half of Wisconsin,” Dries said. “These cases need knowledgeable and experienced people to manage them.”
In addition to managing staff in the district, Dries is also charged with planning an approximately $5 million budget, handling information technology and even things like building projects.
“It’s a lot of hats to wear, but luckily there are great people in place who have been very patient with me so far as I get acclimated,” Dries said.
Dries began his career in the legal arena as a corporate lawyer in Chicago but soon made the move to law clerk for Eastern District of Wisconsin Judge William Griesbach.
“I signed up for a two-year term and somehow stayed for 14 years, with a stint working for United States Circuit Judge Diane Sykes thrown in for good measure,” Dries said.
Dries thanked both judges for helping him to get to where he is now in his career.
“I was lucky that both judges I served are brilliant and I learned immeasurably from them,” Dries said. “That experienced allowed me a window in how federal judges think and the kinds of expectations they have for the clerk's office. So far, that has already proven valuable experience.”
Griesbach returned Dries’ praise in kind.
“Steve Dries’ excellent academic record, strong character and interpersonal skills, along with his 15 years of experience working with federal judges, well equip him for the important job of leading the Clerk of Court’s office,” Griesbach said.
Dries will be replacing Clerk of Court Jon Sanfilippo, who is retiring.
Dries has lived in Brookfield for two years with his wife, Cari Weber, and his 7-year-old son Luke.