Hon. Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, 2018 Woman Lawyer of the Year

Honorable Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, Chief Judge of the DC Court of Appeals, is the 2018 WBA Woman Lawyer of the Year. She will be recognized at the organization’s Annual Dinner on May 17, 2018, in Washington, DC. The Woman Lawyer of the Year Award recognizes a leader who has championed change in the profession by leading by example, advocating for justice, and promoting the advancement of women in the profession.

Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby became Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals in March 2017. In that capacity, she chairs the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration for the District of Columbia court system. Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby previously served as an Associate Judge on the D.C. Court of Appeals, a position for which she was nominated by President George W. Bush in August 2006. During her tenure as an Associate Judge, she chaired the District of Columbia Courts’ Standing Committee on Fairness and Access, and served on the District of Columbia’s Access to Justice Commission

Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby was nominated by President Bill Clinton as an Associate Judge of the D.C. Superior Court, where she served from 2000-2006, and she was a Magistrate Judge on the D.C. Superior Court from 1995-2000.

Throughout her career, Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby has sought to promote the rule of law and equal access to justice. She serves on the Board of Directors for the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts and also served as the Consortium’s president and moderator. Earlier in her career, while serving as Deputy Corporation Counsel in charge of the Family Services Division at the District of Columbia Office of the Corporation Counsel (now District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General), she managed the Division’s 65 attorneys and support staff, responsible for handling child abuse and neglect, child support enforcement, and domestic violence cases.

Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby has taught Trial Advocacy at the Harvard Law School and teaches Professional Responsibility as an Adjunct Professor at the David A. Clarke School of Law at the University of the District of Columbia.  She has also taught Continuing Legal Education courses for the District of Columbia Bar.

Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby was recognized as a WBA Star of the Bar in 2007 and 2014. She is a past president of the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ). 

Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Political Science, and received the Duke University Presidential Leadership Award. She earned her law degree from Howard University School of Law, graduating in the top five percent of her class. While in law school, she served as the Lead Articles Editor of the Howard Law Journal and served as the Co-Captain for the Charles Hamilton Houston Moot Court Team.

Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby is married to the Honorable Robert R. Rigsby, Associate Judge, D.C. Superior Court. They have one son in college.