Who inspired you to become a lawyer?
My dad. Growing up, my dad taught me to help others who could not help themselves. So, I have known since I was a little girl that I wanted to help people.
My dad was a trial attorney in Jacksonville for many years and he really instilled in me the passion to fight for others. He taught me to respect the rule of law and the justice system and all it stands for.
Who inspires you?
My two daughters. Those angel babies inspire me every minute of every day to be present in the moment, to enjoy life, to be silly, to be thoughtful, to be grateful and to never take one day for granted.
How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice on the bench?
Ha. I can see my dad reading this and rolling his eyes because my college majors were performing arts/theater and art history.
I realize this sounds like fluff, but the skills I learned in the classes I took related to these subjects helped me through law school, in the practice of law and now even more so on the bench.
I have always been an extrovert. I love people. I love interacting with people. Learning how to connect with and read an audience are vital skills for a trial lawyer as well as a judge.
Every day I am on the criminal bench, I interact with attorneys and members of this community, and it is critical that I be able to effectively communicate with them in a way that they understand.
In obtaining my degree in art history, I was forced to write and put my thoughts on paper. I was also taught to think critically about issues and to think outside of the box. These are skills I have taken with me into law practice as well as onto the bench.
What community service do you pursue and why?
Community service has been a large part of my life since I was in elementary school.
My fifth-grade class at Bolles sponsored a terminally ill child through the Dreams Come True organization. We had a party for our child in our classroom on campus and I will never forget the look on that little girl’s face or the way I felt simply by doing something for someone else.
I continued to volunteer for and support Dreams Come True throughout high school and into adulthood
I served on the JBA Young Lawyers Section Board of Governors for many years, as well as the JBA big board as well.
Through my service on those boards, as well as the board of Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association, I was afforded numerous opportunities to get involved with some amazing local charities like Meals on Wheels, Community Connections, Hubbard House, the JT Townsend Foundation, Girls Inc. and so many more. It is so important to give back.
Do you currently serve on any Jacksonville Bar Association committees?
I am a member of the JBA Criminal Law, Judicial Relations and Professionalism committees.
Through my time spent on the JBA Young Lawyers Section board, as well as the big board of the JBA, I chaired the Law Day Committee at least twice as well as the Pro Bono Committee.
Joining a JBA committee is a great way to meet other lawyers in this community and get involved.
What is your favorite book?
I love everything written by Pat Conroy.
Do you have any special talents?
Yes, I am fluent in Pig Latin.
If you weren’t a judge what do you think you’d be?
A talk show host or a barista at Starbucks, mainly so I could get the employee discount.
Have you traveled anywhere exotic?
My husband and I love to travel to the islands. We have been to the Bahamas, Hawaii, Turks & Caicos, St. Lucia, the Dominican Republic and we are going to Tahiti later this year.
If you could meet someone from history, who would it be and why?
Joan of Arc. She grew up a peasant girl in a small village in France. She could not read or write, yet her faith and trust in God, as well as her robust common sense, gave her the unwavering courage to lead the French army to defeat an English takeover.
She was ultimately burned to death as a heretic, but I would love to hear her story.
What’s your favorite food?
Oh, pretty much anything filled with carbs and refined sugars.
What’s your favorite holiday?
I love fall and pumpkin spiced everything, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
Family, friends, food and naps, but most of all it’s a day to celebrate being grateful for all of the blessings in life.