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Sara L. Doyle

Sara L. Doyle

Presiding 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. From July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017, Judge Doyle was the Court’s Chief Judge where she was instrumental in implementing a historic jurisdiction shift of cases from the Supreme Court and the addition of a new fifth division adding three more judges to the Court.

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.  In 1994, she graduated cum laude from Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law where she was a member of the Mercer Law Review.  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. Additional honors include:

  • Atlanta Bar Association Professionalism Award, 2013
  • University of Florida Women’s Inaugural Leadership, 2011
  • Honorary Member, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, 2009
  • ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Leadership Academy, 2006 to 2007
  • Atlanta Regional Commission Leadership Institute, 2004
  • Leadership Midtown, 1999

Judge Doyle is involved in many professional, civic, and religious organizations. She is an active member of the State Bar of Georgia, the Judicial Council 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. Additional and more specified activities include:

Mercer University

  • Board of Trustees, 2015 to present
  • Search Committee for Dean of Walter F. George School of Law, 2017
  • Board of Visitors, Walter F. George School of Law, 2012 to 2015

Emory University

  • Board of Visitors 2010 to 2013
  • Executive Board, 2011 to 2013
  • Lamar Inn of Court, Master, 2009 to present
  • Executive Board, 2014 to 2018
  • Law School Trial Advocacy Professionalism Programs Faculty

State of Georgia Appellate Jurisdiction Review Commission, October 2015 to January 2016

Georgia Supreme Court/Judicial Council of Georgia

  • Strategic Plan Implementation Committee
  • Chair, 2014 to 2016
  • Co-Chair, July 2017 to June 2019
  • Access, Fairness & Public Trust & Confidence Committee, February 2016 to June 2018
  • Commission on Dispute Resolution, 2010 to 2016
  • Court Reporting Matters Committee
  • Chair, July 2013 to June 2015
  • Search Committee for the Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, 2015
  • Next Generation Courts Commission, 2012 to 2014

State Bar of Georgia

  • Law Related Education Committee, Member, July 2009 to June 2017
  • Chair, 2014 to 2017
  • Bench and Bar Committee, 2015 to 2017
  • Commission on the Unlicensed Practice of Law, August 2007 to August 2013
  • Vice Chair, September 2008 to October 2011
  • Chair, October 2011 to August 2013

Atlanta Bar Association, 1999 to present

  • Judicial Section, 2008 to present
  • Chair, 2014 to 2015
  • Editorial Board, July 2008 to June 2014
  • Co-Chair, 2011 to 2014
  • Membership Committee, 2013 to 2016
  • Bard Show, 1999 to present
  • Assistant Director

National Association of Women Judges, 2008 to present

  • District 5 Chair, October 2016 to October 2018
  • Annual Conference Co-Chair, 2016 to 2017

Gate City Bar Association, 2008 to present

  • Judicial Section Executive Board Member-at-Large, 2013

Georgia Association of Women Lawyers

  • Advisory Board member

Lawyers Club of Atlanta, 1999 to present

  • Executive Board Member, 2003 to 2014
  • President, July 2012 to June 2013

Judge Doyle has also 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 and volunteers at her children’s schools.

Judge Doyle is married to attorney, Jay Doyle, and they have two children, Mary Donovan and Davis.