Sara L. Doyle, 2009- Date
Chief Judge: July 1, 2015 - Date
Chief Judge Sara L. Doyle was elected to the Georgia Court of Appeals in December, 2008 and took office on January 1, 2009. In 2014, she was elected to her second six- year term, and on July 1, 2015, became the Court’s Chief Judge, a position she will hold for two years.
Born in Dallas, Texas, Judge Doyle lived in several states before entering the University of Florida where she graduated in 1990 with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration. She graduated cum laude from Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law in 1994. Judge Doyle was admitted to the Georgia Bar in June 1994 and began her legal career as a civil litigator with Wilson, Strickland & Benson, P.C. Just prior to taking office, she was an equity partner with the national law firm of Holland & Knight, LLP where she practiced law with a focus on education issues since August 2000.
As a practicing attorney, Judge Doyle received an A.V. peer-reviewed rating from Martindale Hubbell. She was selected as a Georgia Super Lawyer from 2004 to 2008, and in 2006 and 2008, was named one of the top 50 female attorneys in Georgia. She has also been recognized as one of Georgia’s legal elite by Georgia Trend Magazine.
Judge Doyle is involved in many professional, civic, and religious organizations. She is an active member of the State Bar of Georgia, the American Bar Association, the Atlanta Bar Association, the National Association of Women Judges, the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers (GAWL), the Gate City Bar Association, the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA), and the Lawyers Club of Atlanta, where she held the position of President in 2012-2013 and was a member of the club’s executive committee from 2003 to July, 2013. In the Atlanta Bar Association, Judge Doyle has been a member and assistant director of the Atlanta Bar Association Bard show, a member and co-editor of the Atlanta Bar Editorial Board, a member at-large and chair (2014-2015) of the Atlanta Bar’s Judicial Section, and a member of the Membership Committee from 2013 to 2016. In 2013, she was awarded the Atlanta Bar’s Professionalism award.
Judge Doyle has also held several positions in the State Bar of Georgia. She has been a member and chair (2014-2017) of the State Bar’s Law Related Education Committee, sat as a fee dispute arbitrator for the State Bar of Georgia, has been a member and chair (Oct. 2011 to Aug. 2013) of the State Bar of Georgia’s Commission on the Unlicensed Practice of Law, and was a member of the Next Generation Courts Commission from 2012 through 2014. In January 2013, Judge Doyle was inducted as a member at-large of the Gate City Bar Association’s Judicial Section Executive Board for a one-year term and she has served as a member of GAWL’s Advisory Board. Recently, Judge Doyle was elected to serve a two-year term as District 5 Director for the National Association of Women Judges.
As an active member of the appellate courts, Judge Doyle is involved in the Judicial Council of Georgia. She held a six-year term (2010-2016) on the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution, chaired the Strategic Plan Implementation Committee (2014 to 2016) and the Court Reporting Matters Committee (July 2013 to June 2015), and will sit on the Access, Fairness and Public Trust and Confidence Committee from February 2016 to June 2018
Judge Doyle sat on Mercer University’s Law School Board of Visitors for a three-year term from 2012 to 2015 and joined Mercer University’s Board of Trustees in October, 2015. She is a Master and Executive Board member of Emory University Law School’s Lamar Inn of Court. She also served a three-year term (2010 - 2013) on Emory University’s Board of Visitors, sitting on its executive board the last two of those years.
Judge Doyle participated in Leadership Midtown, the Atlanta Regional Commission leadership Institute, the American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Leadership Academy, and the 2011 University of Florida Women’s Inaugural Leadership Event. Judge Doyle was a Barrister in the Bleckley Inn of Court and a faculty member for the Emory University Trial Advocacy Program. Judge Doyle has participated as a Hands On Atlanta Day team leader, an American Cancer Society Neighborhood fundraiser, as co-chair for her law firm’s United Way Committee and a volunteer for the Georgia Volunteer Lawyer for the Arts. Recently, she has acted as a team leader for the Court’s participation in the Georgia Legal Food Frenzy.
Judge Doyle is married to attorney, Jay Doyle, and they have two children.