County Court Records Chief Expects Seamless Transition

Article excerpt

Kate Barkman chose a career in law so she could serve the public.

After a stint as a public defender and building a track record in labor law, Barkman will tackle a first in service starting Monday as director of Allegheny County's new Department of Court Records.

"I think it sounds cliched, but I was looking to help people," said Barkman, 40, of Castle Shannon. "This is public service, absolutely. So, it's a natural step for me."

The post replaces three row officers -- clerk of courts, register of wills and prothonotary -- that were consolidated by voter referendum. Each office was a repository of records from county court divisions.

Barkman said the consolidation should appear seamless, and after she is situated, she will look into further consolidation.

Though Barkman has represented the county Retirement Board and served as a public defender in Monroe County, much of her experience comes from private practice, most recently with the Downtown law firm Campbell, Durrant & Beatty.

"She has ... honesty, integrity, ability and energy," said Bruce Campbell, a firm shareholder. "When people meet her, they feel comfortable with her."

"She will be able to effectively integrate the three court- related row offices into the Department of Court Records," county Chief Executive Dan Onorato said. …