Mary Ferwerda, M.S., J.D., (she/her) is the Executive Director of the Milwaukee Justice Center, the self-help center in the Milwaukee County Courthouse, where she led the implementation of the MJC Mobile Legal Clinic: A Project of the Milwaukee Bar Association and Marquette University Law School. She is a 2011 graduate (with Pro Bono Honors Distinction) of Marquette University Law School, while also earning a certificate in Dispute Resolution from Marquette Graduate School. She is licensed in the State of Wisconsin and the Federal Eastern District of Wisconsin. Ferwerda is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Bar Association, and the Civil Legal Aid Alliance of Wisconsin. She is active in the State Bar of Wisconsin, serving as a board member for the Dispute Resolution Section, a member of the Legal Services Committee, and a graduate of the G. Lane Ware Leadership Academy class of 2019-2020.
Ferwerda is a recipient of the United Way’s “Philanthropic 5”of 2020 award, honoring five young leaders and their contributions to the Milwaukee Community, for her work with the Milwaukee Justice Center and her personal volunteer efforts. She is also a two-time recipient of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s “Champions of Innovation” award for her work with the Mobile Legal Clinic (2014) and an interactive learning program entitled Lost in the Law: Navigating Civil Legal Issues in Wisconsin (2019). In 2014, she also accepted an award for the Mobile Legal Clinic as a recipient of the inaugural Wisconsin Innovation Awards.
Prior to attending law school, Mary worked for over 10 years in leadership development and higher education administration at both Marquette University and at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where she earned her Master of Science degree with a double concentration in Community and College Counseling, as well as her Bachelor of Arts degree in History, with a minor in Education.
In her higher education professional career, Mary created innovative programs for student involvement, including an on-campus office of the Omaha YWCA Intimate Violence Resource Center, for which she received the YWCA “Rookie Volunteer of the Year” award (2000), and The Global Village at Campus Town, for which she received the “Outstanding Service” award from the Marquette University Division of Student Affairs (2004).
Ferwerda also worked in treatment foster care at Boys’ Town in Omaha, Nebraska and at Utah Youth Village in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she also served as an intake coordinator for in-home placement programs.
Mary lives in the City of Milwaukee with her two rescue dogs, Rainer and Rolf.