On the Bench: Maureen Horkan

Judge Maureen Horkan was elected to the Group 18 seat on the 4th Judicial Circuit Court in the August 2018 primary election.

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Judge Maureen Horkan
Judge Maureen Horkan
  • The Bar Bulletin
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Who or what inspired you to become a lawyer? My life experiences inspired me to fight for fairness and justice for all people. Probably the biggest influence was watching my mother go through a long, contested divorce in the ’70s. I became a lawyer to be strong for others who had no strength left.

Who or what inspires you? I am inspired by the committed assistant state attorneys and public defenders, both state and federal, who spend hours fighting for justice. The job is grueling and often low paying, yet so important. I appreciate the choice these lawyers make to serve the community.

How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice on the bench? My literature degree from Smith College helps me write well with rigid adherence to proper grammar (to the annoyance of all my assistants). It also inspires me to see the stories in people’s lives as beautiful human narratives with predictable conflicts and a potential for growth, revelation and redemption. 

What community service have you pursued and why? I have served children by teaching Sunday School for years, being a Guardian ad Litem, a mentor for Take Stock in Children, and a writing coach for College Summit. I also teach yoga and have taught to differently-abled adults. I have represented clients pro bono in family law and dependency cases, and this has been immensely rewarding. I love children, and any way I can improve their lives makes me happy.

Do you currently serve on the JBA in any committee? Before being elected to the bench, I was on the Pro Bono Committee, and I am now reviewing new ways to serve as a judge.

What is your favorite book? A million, but if I must pick one: “The Life of Pi.”

Do you have any special talents? I love making old things new and designed the restoration of my 100-year-old house. My first career was in fashion design, and I re-design clothes and jewelry. I also have been crew on several sailing adventures and was a flight attendant in my 20s.

If you weren’t a judge what do you think you’d be? A teacher or a writer.

Have you traveled anywhere exotic? My most exotic trips include a month of solo travel backpacking in Switzerland and Greece, a yoga retreat in Costa Rica and a Mediterranean cruise from Italy to Barcelona, Spain. My favorite trip is my annual Winter Solstice Kundalini Yoga retreat every year right here in Florida.

If you could meet someone from history, who would it be and why? Mahatma Gandhi. I would ask how he maintained his practice of continual love and forgiveness. I would like for us to meditate together.

What’s your favorite food? Indian

What’s your favorite holiday? Valentine’s Day. I love making Valentine’s rhymes and home-made cards for everyone and decorating everything with pink and red hearts, and best of all, our family tradition of breakfast for dinner.



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