Skip to Content
A jurist breaking barriers

A jurist breaking barriers

September 12, 2022 at 5:00pm

The Honorable Barbara Lagoa '89 has ridden an English degree from FIU, along with a juris doctorate from Columbia, to a career of impressive firsts. The South Florida native of Cuban heritage is the first Hispanic woman appointed to the Florida Supreme Court, the first Hispanic woman appointed to the Third District Court of Appeal and the first Hispanic woman appointed its chief judge. She serves as a judge of the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Prior to ascending to the bench, the justice worked as an attorney in the Miami office of multinational firm Greenberg Traurig in the areas of employment discrimination, business torts, securities litigation, construction litigation and insurance coverage disputes. In 2003, she joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and tried numerous criminal jury trials, including drug conspiracies and Hobbs Act violations and handled a significant number of appeals. 

Today, Lagoa continues a relationship with FIU through past service on the Alumni Association and participation on the university’s recent presidential search committee.  

“FIU provided me not only a solid academic foundation but also mentors who helped me identify the opportunities that education offers. Although FIU, like Miami, is relatively young, it has gained national and international recognition as a center of excellence, and I look forward to the next chaper in this dynamic institution’s history.”