After earning an undergraduate degree in economics from Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier University), she was one of five women graduates from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in the class of 1971.
In the 1970’s Judge Kolkoski was a leader in her community for the advancement of women and, also, people of color. As an Assistant City Solicitor, she wrote a legal opinion that opened the Cincinnati police and fire departments to women candidates. She did similar work with the bus system moving on as a private practitioner to help children with disabilities obtain an appropriate education.
Judge Kolkoski served as a hearing officer for many entities, to include the Nevada Taxicab Authority. “I have been favorably impressed by Elizabeth Kolkoski’s genuine dedication to fairness. She has shown a high standard of legal ethics in conducting hearings, and she won’t allow a driver to make damaging procedural errors in defending himself.” Sven J. Nilsson, Driver, Yellow Cab Company
She was appointed by Nevada governors twice to serve as the elder rights attorney for Nevada where Judge Kolkoski identified the need to enact better laws against elder abuse. She partnered with the Nevada Attorney General to form the Nevada Elder Abuse Council that campaigned for protections against elder abuse through legislation, public education, and three training videos for law enforcement where she was the Executive-in-Charge.
Judge Kolkoski strongly supports community service and helping people in need. She is a founding member of the board of directors of the Southern Nevada Senior Law Program, a nonprofit organization that was launched in 2011 to provide quality legal assistance and advocacy services for residents sixty years and older facing challenges of aging. She was elected chair in 2020.
Judge Kolkoski was appointed to the bench in 2000 and stood for election twice. She presided over her court’s first DUI specialty court, and in 2011 she took senior status where she continued to serve as needed for several more years.
Judge Kolkoski was the first woman elected chief judge of the Las Vegas Municipal Court in 2009.
“Forever grateful that Betsy Kolkoski created a space for women lawyers to get together every December . . . (where I) met smart, powerful and kind women . . .”