Laura Lau is a Circuit Court Commissioner for Waukesha County.  She has held this position since she was appointed to the judiciary by Circuit Court Judge Kathryn Foster in 2001.

Laura was born in Waukesha and has lived in Waukesha County for over 50 years.  She is the first generation in her family to attend college.  Her father, Richard (Schmidt), was a CNC operator and her mother, Patricia, a secretary.  Laura has a younger brother, David, who resides in Texas with his wife and daughters.

Laura received her grade school and high school education through the Waukesha Public School System.  She was the Valedictorian at Waukesha North High School in 1981. Growing up, Laura competed in many sports — swimming, softball, basketball and even water polo.  However, the success she achieved in one sport brought college recruiters to her door.  That sport was BOWLING!  After speaking with more than a dozen coaches of Varsity College programs, she decided to attend Penn State.
At Penn State Laura majored in Business and went on to receive a B.S. degree in Finance with an emphasis in Economics.  She was a member of Mortar Board (Top 10 students in the class) and Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority and was selected Penn State’s Greek Woman on the Year in 1985.  She competed all 4 years on the bowling team and was a member of the National Championship Runner-Up team in 1984.  Her senior year, she qualified for Individual Nationals with an all-tournament average of 218.
After graduating from Penn State, Laura returned to Wisconsin to attend college at Marquette University.  While at Marquette she competed in Moot Court and discovered that she wanted to be a litigator.  Her first job was in Madison at one of the state’s most respected family law firms.  While working in Madison she expanded her skills in litigating family law cases and also began volunteering with the Dane County Advocates for Battered Women.
Another notable accomplishment that was achieved during her tenure in Madison was being the co-author of a book published by the State Bar of Wisconsin, “Family Law Casenotes and Quotes.”  The Casenotes book contains a summary of all the family law cases decided in the State of Wisconsin since the Divorce Reform Act of 1978.  Following the publication of the book, Laura began speaking at seminars across the state.  The Casenotes book is supplemented 3 times per year and Laura continues to be a supplement author.  The book is now in its 28th year of continuous publication.
Laura returned to Waukesha in 1990 following the birth of her daughter, Andrea.  In Waukesha, Laura was in private practice with the firm of Phillips & Gemignani and represented clients throughout Waukesha County in family law cases. Within a year of returning to Waukesha, Laura entered service to the non-profit sector on the first of many Board of Director positions.  Her first Board was for The Women’s Center, Inc.  Laura then went on to serve on Boards for Pro Health Care Visiting Nurse Assn, Rolland B. Nelson Memorial Hospice and Chosen, Inc. (fostering forever families).

The family welcomed a son, Ryan, in 1993 and Laura added teaching to her duties.  She facilitated a class at WCTC for 10 years in the Women’s Development Center.

In 2001 she applied for and was appointed to the position of Circuit Court Commissioner for Waukesha County.  As a Court Commissioner she is a member of the Judiciary and presides over court hearings in all 5 court divisions —- civil, criminal, family, juvenile and probate.  During her years as a Commissioner she has presided over more than 20,000 hearings and currently supervises both the family court and probate offices.

As part of her judicial duties, Laura presides over the calendar with defendants who have been charged with alleged repeat OWI offenses. She is responsible for reviewing the charges, establishing bail amount and conditions and determining whether probable cause has been sufficiently alleged for cases to proceed to trial.  During her 16 years as a commissioner she has presided over cases involving allegations of homicide, child pornography, armed robbery, drug possession/delivery, child abuse and other serious and sensitive offenses.

Throughout her tenure in the judiciary, Laura has earned the respect of law enforcement and other individuals in the justice system.  For the Branch 12 race, Laura has been endorsed by Waukesha county Sheriff Eric Severson, District Attorney Sue Opper and the Waukesha County Deputy Sheriff Association.

In addition to her work in the courtroom, Laura continues to serve the community.  She is currently on the Board of Directors for NAMI-Waukesha (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and Parents Place.  She serves on a multi-disciplinary work group exploring ways in which the legal system and law enforcement may better serve those in our community experiencing mental health challenges.  The issue of mental health has touched Laura’s life in a very close way in that she lost her husband to suicide in 2003.  This tragic loss was a defining event in her life and in those of her children.  The family found a faith in the Lord that has shaped their decisions and manner of living.

​​Laura’s daughter, Andrea, is an attorney (and fellow Marquette Law School graduate) and is a child support attorney with Waukesha County Corporation Counsel’s office.  Andrea is bilingual and uses her Spanish speaking skills to assist parties in court.  Her son, Ryan, is a 2nd year Medical Student at The Medical College of Wisconsin. He has volunteered with the Hospital of Hope in Bolivia and hopes to incorporate missionary work into his medical career.