As clerk and court administrator of the Supreme Court of Kentucky, Kelly Stephens oversees case filing and management for the commonwealth’s highest court. The Supreme Court justices named Stephens to the position permanently in May 2020 after she was appointed as interim clerk on Feb. 1, 2020.
Stephens has dedicated her career to the Judicial Branch, which has given her broad experience in the operations of Kentucky’s trial and appellate court. As a new law school graduate, she started out as a staff attorney for the Family Court Division of Franklin Circuit Court before joining the Administrative Office of the Courts in 2003 as a Family Court liaison. In that role, she helped promote the adoption of the constitutional amendment that created Family Court in 2003 and supported the implementation of new Family Court jurisdictions in Kentucky. In 2004, the Supreme Court honored Stephens with a Law Day Award for Contributions to Juvenile Courts.
In 2005, she moved to the AOC Office of General Counsel, where she was a staff attorney before being promoted to deputy general counsel. Stephens was named legal project manager in 2011 and became part of the team responsible for the groundbreaking project that led to electronic filing being offered in all 120 counties. She helped develop the technical interface and practice rules for eFiling and spent countless hours traveling the state to train attorneys on the new system.
In 2017, she was named a manager in the Department of Court Services, where she provided support to Kentucky’s circuit court clerks. In 2018, she became the AOC’s governmental affairs liaison and focused on monitoring legislation of interest to the court, representing the Judicial Branch at legislative committee hearings, and conducting legislative updates for judges, circuit court clerks and attorneys.
Stephens is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association and the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks. She has been a regular presenter for the Kentucky Circuit and District Judges colleges and has also presented at the Kentucky Bar Association’s annual convention and Kentucky Law Updates. She volunteered with the Franklin County Citizens Foster Care Review Board as a member, vice chair and chair from 2004-2009.
She is a native of Knott County in Eastern Kentucky. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Kentucky in 1999 and a juris doctor from the UK College of Law in 2002. The Kentucky Law Journal gave her its Outstanding Staff Achievement Award in 2002.
Stephens resides in Georgetown with her husband and two children.