Jamaican-American Judge Renatha Francis has been appointed to the Eleventh Justice Circuit Court by Florida’s Governor Rick Scott. Judge Francis, 40, currently serves as a Miami-Dade County judge. She previously practiced law at the firm of Shutts & Bowen, LLP, and was an attorney for the First District Court of Appeal. Judge Francis earned a BA degree from the University of the West Indies and a law degree from the Florida Coastal Law School in Jacksonville, Florida in 2010. Judge Francis was previously appointed by Governor Scott to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Judge Sarah Zabel.
In Judge Francis’ work at her former law firm, she belonged to the Class Action and Mass Litigation Practice Group. Born in Jamaica, Judge Francis attended St. Hugh’s High School and Bridgeport Primary. At law school, Judge Francis won several moot court competitions argued before federal and state supreme court judges. She was also credited with personally raising the school’s ranking from sixteenth to third. Before joining Shutts & Bowen, Judge Francis worked as a senior attorney at the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, where she served in several roles, including attorney to Judge Scott Makar, staff attorney, and law clerk to Judge Peter Webster. At Shutts & Bowen, she was chiefly involved in the representation of insurance providers in personal injury protection cases, specializing in the interpretation and application of auto insurance policies. The appointment of Judge Francis was one of three announced by the Governor. The others were Miami-Dade County Judge Andrea Ricker Wolfson, 45, of Miami Beach who served as an Assistant State Attorney/Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court, and Judge Dawn V. Denaro, 51, of Miami, who previously served as an Assistant State Attorney for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. She was also a county judge for Miami-Dade County.
Photo contributed by Philip Fender