Alumni Spotlight: Anna Blackburne-Rigsby Named Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals

The Honorable Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, a 1987 graduate of Howard University School of Law, was named Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals. Her appointment is effective March 18, 2017.

Judge Blackburne-Rigsby is a distinguished alumna and great friend of the law school and the University. In 2007, she was keynote speaker at the Hooding Ceremony and delivered an important  speech to the graduating class: “Remember that throughout your legal career you will be building or maintaining your professional reputation, so act with integrity in each thing that you do. It only takes one slick move or attempt to fake your preparedness—or one time when you are less than candid with opposing counsel or the court—to ruin your professional reputation (which, by the way, is not separate from your personal reputation). Guard your reputation—it is vital to your success in both your professional life and your personal life.” (see full speech).

In 2009 and 2016, Judge Blackburne-Rigsby participated in the Wiley A. Branton/Howard Law Journal Symposium and talked about the future of black lawyers and President Obama’s judicial legacy respectively. In 2010, Judge Blackburne-Rigsby’s article, “Black Women Judges: The Historical Journey of Black Women to the Nation’s Highest Courts,” was published in theHoward Law Journal spring edition.

Judge Blackburne-Rigsby has supported the law school and University in ways too numerous to count. She regularly engages with HUSL law students at the annual A Conversation with Judges event sponsored by the Legal Writing Department. She has hired HUSL graduates as law clerks and has worked with Professor Patricia Worthy and other faculty to help students obtain clerkships. The law school community is extremely proud of Judge Blackburne-Rigsby and her many accomplishments. We congratulate her on her new position as Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Compiled by Jacqueline Young, Director of Publications and External Communications