DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Michaela Richardson practically grew up in the Piscataquis County Courthouse, where she spent quite a bit of time in the clerk’s office with her mother, Lisa Richardson, who has worked there for nearly 30 years.

Now a paralegal student at Husson University in Bangor, Michaela Richardson, 19, of Sangerville has been spending three days a week, about 25 hours, working without pay at her mother’s side. Earlier this month, Michaela Richardson was named the Judicial Branch Volunteer of the Year.

“I just started helping out a little bit whenever I could but when they got the new building [in February 2012], it became more regular,” the younger Richardson said Monday.

Lisa Richardson, head court clerk in Piscataquis County, said that her daughter has been trained to do everything other clerks do at a time when budget constraints kept the court from hiring another employee.

“I’m very proud of her,” the elder Richardson, 47, of Sangerville said Monday. “We will miss her terribly when she graduates this spring.”

Michaela Richardson hopes to find a job as a court clerk in Maine after she graduates. Her favorite part of the job happens in the courtroom.

“I always enjoy being in the courtroom,” she said. “I like seeing the cases play out and everything happen. It’s rare for me to find one that I don’t find interesting.”

Her award was announced Dec. 18 by Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley in a press release.

“She is an efficient and smart young woman, who has become an indispensable part of the organization of that court,” Saufley said. “We are so grateful for her contribution.”

Other judicial employees honored this month included: Gail Merritt of Saco, Outstanding Judicial Employee of the Year; District Court Judge John David Kennedy, who sits in West Bath, Judicial Branch Career Performance Award; staff of the Service Center in Lewiston, Special Service Award; and Sgt. Mark Tibbetts of Steep Falls, the Roy Rice Award for outstanding contribution to the safety and well being of employees.