Honorable Laura G. Douglas '79

Justice of the Bronx County Supreme Court and Supervising Judge of the Bronx County Civil Court

First as a lawyer and now as a judge, for nearly four decades the Honorable Laura G. Douglas ’79 has been serving fellow citizens as they navigate the legal system.

“As an attorney, you’re focused on whatever side you’re advocating for and looking at what’s best for your particular client,” she said in the Pulteney St. Survey, Hobart and William Smith's alum magazine. “As a judge, you’re looking at what’s legally best for the parties as a whole. You’re focused on the bigger picture and seeing how you can balance the scales.”

After graduating from William Smith, Douglas earned her J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and in 1985 was admitted to the New York State bar. That year, she became a staff attorney for Bronx Legal Services. She later worked as a New York law assistant, a principal law clerk, and in 1997 became a judge, initially Judge of the Civil Court in Bronx County Civil Court, then Supervising Judge of the same court. Douglas went on to preside as Justice of the Bronx County Supreme Court.

While at HWS, Douglas was a member of William Smith Congress, president of the Third World Coalition, resident adviser, peer counselor for the Office of Minority Affairs, peer tutor adviser, a member of Hai Timiai honor society and the first recipient of the Gloria Lowry ’52 Prize, given in honor of the first African American woman to graduate from William Smith.

She has served as chair for the Black Bar Association of Bronx County and trustee of The Church of the Abiding Presence. In 2004, she was named to the Alumni Hall of Distinction for The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities. In 2017, Douglas delivered the keynote address to the second annual HWS Multicultural Career and Networking Conference. Later that year, the William Smith Alumnae Association presented its highest honor, the Alumna Achievement Award, to Douglas. The honor is bestowed on alumnae who, by reason of outstanding accomplishments in their particular business, profession or community service, have brought honor and distinction to their alma mater.