News Post

Judge Elisabeth French to Become First Female Presiding Judge of Jefferson County Court System


Birmingham, Ala. – Judge Elisabeth French is the first woman selected to serve at the helm of the Jefferson County judicial system since its beginning in 1821.

Judge Elisabeth French

She will follow Judge Joseph Boohaker who is retiring on Feb. 29, 2020. The Presiding Judge is selected by the Circuit Judges of the 10th Judicial Circuit.  Judge French will begin her historic tenure as Presiding Judge on Mar. 1, 2020.

“It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Jefferson County as a Judge since 2010,” French said. “I am looking forward to now taking on such an important role with the support of my fellow judges,” she added.

As Presiding Judge, she is responsible for assigning Judges to established divisions, executing the administrative duties of the Courts, making sure that the Courts function properly and having general supervisory authority over court officials. Judge French will also continue to hear cases.

The 10th Judicial Circuit is the largest Circuit of the Alabama Judicial System and consists of a total of 38 Judges, including 26 Circuit Judges and 12 District Judges. French is the first female African American Presiding Judge in the state of Alabama.

In November of 2010, Judge French was elected as a Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge. She was re-elected in 2016. During her tenure on the bench, French has disposed of thousands of cases. Prior to that in the private practice of law for 14 years, French managed complex litigation.

Judge French attended the University of Montevallo on an athletic scholarship (volleyball) and received her bachelor’s degree with a double major in Political Science and Spanish in 1993. She earned her juris doctorate from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law in 1997.

Media contact:

Ronda Robinson, Carmine Communications