Llezelle Dugger, Clerk of Court, Charlottesville Circuit Court
Where were you born (and raised, if different)?
I was born in the Philippines. My parents immigrated to the United States in 1972 because they did not want to raise their child under Martial Law in the Philippines. We moved to San Francisco, CA, and I grew up all around the Bay Area.
When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?
My husband, Alan, and I were newlyweds when we moved to Charlottesville, VA in August of 1990. Alan started graduate school in the Government & Foreign Affairs Department at UVa.
What neighborhood do you live in now?
We live in the North Downtown neighborhood now. Prior to that, we lived in the Belmont neighborhood. We LOVE living in the City!
Family (spouse, kids, etc.)?
My husband and I have been married over 23 years, and we have two beautiful (not so little) girls, Lauren (11) and Allison (8).
What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?
I have a B.A. in Political Science from University of California at Berkeley in 1990, and a J.D. from the College of William and Mary in 1995.
What were you doing before you came to work for the City?
From May 2000 to December 2011, I was an Assistant Public Defender for the City of Charlottesville & Albemarle County. Prior to that, I worked in private practice from 1995 to 2000.
Your job title is Clerk for Charlottesville Circuit Court – what, in your own words, would you say you do?
The Code of Virginia lists over 800 separate responsibilities for the Clerk of Court. Real estate documents are recorded in my office. We also handle probate matters as well as marriage licenses. In addition, the Clerk is the official administrator for all civil and criminal court cases, and creates and maintains all court files and records, prepares court orders and jury lists, contacts jurors and issues summons and court processes.
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
The best part of my job is working with the public. I am a very social person, and I really like helping people. Since the Clerk of Court is the keeper of public records, I believe the most important duty I have is that of a public servant.
The most difficult part is working with the public. Unfortunately, there are times when we cannot help for a variety of reasons, and sometimes we get very unhappy people who we need to still treat with respect and dignity no matter how difficult that may be.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
If you own land in the City of Charlottesville, your Deeds and Deeds of Trust (mortgages) will be recorded in our office. Anything that affects title to your property will be recorded in the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. If you have a family member pass away and you need to probate the Will and/or qualify as the Executor, you will need to come to the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. If you are summoned to jury duty in the City of Charlottesville, you deal with me and my staff.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the county?
I was elected in 2011 and started my term on January 1, 2012. I’ve only been in this office a little over two years, so I would have to say that learning how to be a good Clerk of Court continues to be the most interesting project for me.
What is a little-known fact about you?
Although I moved to the United States before I turned four, I still speak my native language, Tagalog, relatively fluently. This is especially true when I go back to California to visit with my family and I’m once again immersed in Tagalog being spoken consistently.
A more “silly” little known fact is that at seven-years-old, I wanted to be an actress. I had my acceptance speech ready for when I received my first Oscar. My parents had a little Statue of Liberty replica in our house, and I would use that as my pretend-Oscar as I delivered my speech on the stage in our living room (raised fireplace) in front of all my dolls and stuffed animals.
What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc.?
I “work” at my other full-time job – Mommy to my two beautiful girls, Lauren and Allison. Then, in my “free & quiet” time, I love to read what my family calls my bubble gum books (Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb books).