Judy joined SM&P the summer of 2019, bringing with her 24 years of experience in and passion for adoption cases of all types -- foreign, contested, same-sex couple, agency, relative and step-parent, third party independent, DFCS, and interstate (ICPC). She has finalized close to 700 adoptions in her career. Because of her deep and broad knowledge of adoption, she was part of a group of attorneys who participated in developing the new Georgia adoption code in 2018. “I’ve seen pretty much everything in adoption,” she said.
Law is not just an intellectual exercise for Judy. She went through the pain of her parents’ divorce, then the suicide of an aunt who had lost part of her farm due to a lack of legal representation. The suicide was the catalyst for starting law school midlife. Later, she adopted two of her five children from Russia, then experienced several years as a single parent.
“I’ve been through what many of my clients are going through,” said Judy. “I’m not above a little hand-holding when it’s called for. And it often is in family law cases. But I don’t pull punches about expectations for results. My clients need honesty as much as empathy.” Her reviews note exceptional compassion to birth mothers facing the adoption process.
Judy can keep her feet as well as her ego on the ground. Having grown up on a Paducah, Kentucky farm, she knows what work is. “I work hard but smart and love what I do.”
After practicing solo since 1996, she is excited about the camaraderie that comes with working on a team. She studied the backgrounds of the SM&P attorneys and felt she had found her place. She likes the way senior partner Mary Montgomery thinks outside the box and engages in lively conversation about future growth at the firm.
“Judy doesn’t beat around the bush,” Mary said. “She is very straightforward and thinks fast on her feet. We value that here.”
After marrying a man with three children, the two found themselves parents of eight children. “We learned that eight is enough,” said Judy.
Judy has lived in Georgia since 1981 and in Gainesville on Lake Lanier since 1994. She enjoys boating and traveling, especially to Destin, Florida. An avid Georgia Bulldogs football fan, she admits to even barking on occasion.
- Georgia, 1995
- United States District Court, 1995
- Northeastern Judicial Court, 2019
- Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorney, Fellow, 2018
- Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers, Fellow, 2013
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorney
- Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers
- Adoption CLE seminars, 2016 and 2018
- Child Welfare Summit, 2018 and 2019
- Foster Parent Training Seminars
John Marshall Law School
Atlanta, Georgia, 1995
Bachelor of Arts